‘Blacklisting’ in the construction industry must be investigated by the public inquiry into undercover policing in England and Wales, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 28 July).
Unite said that there is proven evidence that undercover police from the special demonstration squad (SDS) infiltrated trade unions and the question must be asked whether this was just ‘the tip of iceberg’.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said that Unite would be prepared to give evidence to the public inquiry, chaired by Lord Justice Pitchford, on what it knows of ‘blacklisting’ in the construction industry.
Gail Cartmail said: “What is alleged to have happened over four decades of police infiltration is a travesty of the policing system and democracy. It has ruined lives and caused immense suffering, especially to those women who were duped into having what they thought were genuine relationships with the infiltrators.
“We need the inquiry to probe what the undercover police involvement was in relation to links with the ‘blacklisting’ scandal in the construction industry. So far, I think we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg – and Judge Pitchford will have to dig deep.
“The reports that they infiltrated campaign groups and trade unions are true, as police officers were deployed as covert human intelligence sources.
“We need to know who authorised the infiltration of trade unions – how high up does the buck stop when it comes to accountability? And who authorised the payments to these undercover officers to pay their union dues?”
Home Secretary Theresa May ordered the review after claims a police ‘spy’ had infiltrated the family "camp" of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. It also comes after investigations revealed officers had had relationships with women while undercover, and had used the names of dead children.
Lawyers investigating allegations for the Home Office say they have uncovered more than 80 possible miscarriages of justice relating to undercover policing.
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.
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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.