Unite the union today (Friday November 20) welcomed the `unreserved apology’ from the Metropolitan Police to the seven women duped into relationships with undercover police officers specially assigned to infiltrate politically active groups or causes.
The union says that the time has now come for those responsible for the Special Demonstration Squad to acknowledge its role in destroying the lives of dozens of men and women working in construction and associate industries.
During the Scottish affairs select committee inquiry into blacklisting, held in 2014, Ian Kerr, a former employee of the Economic League and chief officer of the Consulting Association, stated that information was shared between the police and the Economic League.
Documents seized by the information commissioner confirmed collusion between blacklisting employers and the police.
Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “At long last, we are arriving at the truth regarding the disturbing scale of these covert activities and an acceptance that there was an organised and appalling misuse of police officers to spy on UK citizens.
“We have long been concerned that this misuse of the police extended to the workplace where ‘rogue’ employers developed a blacklist of construction workers and others who were union members.
“Our darkest fears were confirmed by the industry itself last year at the Scottish affairs select committee when it was confirmed that blacklists of employees were compiled with police assistance.
“We are also fully aware of, at least, one police official who posed as a construction worker and union activist in order to be a surveillance source for employers and the state.
“There remains a culture in the construction industry of victimising workers who raise worries about health and safety and fears that blacklisting persists and is a contemporary problem.
“It is, therefore, vital that the Metropolitan Police fully acknowledges its connivance in the ‘blacklisting’ operation in order that we can both clean up current day problems and then move swiftly to full justice and compensation for those men and women who were denied a livelihood simply because they were members of a union or active in a cause.
“These workers have spent a working lifetime fighting for that justice. Further delay in delivering it to them is yet another scandal in the making.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.