Construction union opposes blacklists

Blacklisting in the construction industry has been shown by UCATT to be more wide spread than previously admitted, and raises concerns that companies still secretly make use of these lists.

In 2009 the Information Commissioners Office raided the Consulting Association and finding and seizing a blacklist of 3,200 workers. Later the organiser of the Association was fined a paltry £5,000 for offences under the Protection of Data Act; it was disbanded.

The Consulting Association, linked together 44 of the biggest construction firms in Britain; some of the companies openly  and proudly admitted to providing information for and operating such a blacklist.

Companies who placed people on such lists, prevent the hiring of listed workers, often indicating the blacklisting by referring to code 99 or the like. The large multi-national companies that were, members of the Consulting Association, were shown to put pressure on agencies to sack builders who managed to get work through them. This has ruined the work and personal life of many stewards and workers who have questioned dangerous work-practices.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee learned (October 17) that this only represented five percent of the probable number of workers listed by employers as undesirable. The figure of 60,000 would be nearer the number of construction workers on the list.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee heard yesterday (October 17) that in 2009 when the ICO raided the Consulting Association it only removed 5% of the organisations files, a blacklist of 3,200 workers.

The General Secretary of UCATT, Steve Murphy called the situation scandalous; he said the union was seeking an urgent meeting with the ICO to find out how 95% of the files were not removed when the initial investigation was carried out. They also want to know where these files are now and what use is being made of them..

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