Unite, Britain's biggest union, has welcomed the Scottish affairs committee's interim report on blacklisting, which has begun to shine a light on the dark side of Britain's construction industry.
The committee is concerned that the industry has not wholly disclosed the extent of blacklisting across the construction industry. Unite is pleased that it will be invited to give more evidence to the committee along with its sister union Ucatt in the near future. Unite is convinced that blacklisting continues in the industry; 18 of the known 37 contacts for the blacklisting organisation the Consulting Association are engaged with companies on Crossrail, the biggest construction project in Europe.
Unite is giving Frank Morris, a construction worker sacked from the Crossrail project, legal support at an employment tribunal. The tribunal will have to answer whether Frank is the victim of a blacklisting conspiracy by the construction consortium Bam Ferrovial Kier (BFK) which is engaged on the Crossrail project.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, who will be speaking on blacklisting at the STUC this Wednesday in Perth said:
"The Scottish affairs committee has begun to shine a light on the dark side of the construction industry. An industry that has ruined lives and discriminated against workers just because they belonged to a trade union or raised concerns about health and safety in one of the most dangerous industries.
"We welcome the opportunity to give further evidence and recommend action against the blacklisters. Unite firmly believes blacklisting continues and the only way to eradicate this morally indefensible practice is to strengthen legislation against blacklisting to give the law real teeth. There also needs to be a clear commitment to freedom of association and the right for unions to organise. Only then can we ensure that construction sites are safe workplaces free from discrimination.
" We also believe that punishment for the blacklisters who have ruined lives and left families destitute should be severe. Blacklisting should be a criminal offence with punitive action up to and including imprisonment.
"I am calling on the committee to demand answers from the board of Crossrail, senior management at Transport for London and key decision makers employed by construction companies awarded contracts by Crossrail such as Royal Bam and Kier - all have cases to answer.
"Our thanks goes to the Scottish affairs committee which has done some very important work when others looked away. The committee has helped expose a conspiracy against working people by very powerful people and companies in construction. We intend to keep up our courage to bring them to justice.
"While the Scottish affairs committee is doing an excellent job we still believe there needs to be a full public inquiry into this national scandal on the scale of the Leveson inquiry into phone hacking."
Len McCluskey will be speaking at the STUC in Perth on Wednesday 17 April where he will call for organisations involved in blacklisting to be banned from bidding for public procurement contract.
Contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315 or Peter Welsh on 07810 157 931
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.