Members of Unite working in the construction industry are lobbying Parliament today (Wednesday 6 December) as part of a nationwide day of action, in the ongoing campaign for justice for blacklisted workers.
A photocall of Unite members and MPs will take place at Old Palace Yard, London SW1P 3JY (opposite the Houses of Parliament) at 1pm.
Following the photocall, members will then lobby their MPs and attend a meeting in Parliament where they will be addressed by leading Labour MPs, including John McDonnell, Jonathan Ashworth, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Louise Haigh.
Unite is also holding protests today at the sites of companies involved in construction blacklisting throughout the UK, including Birmingham, Brighton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester and Nottingham.
The lobby of Parliament and day of action has been called as part of Unite’s continuing campaign for justice for blacklisted workers. Unite is calling for:
- A full public inquiry into blacklisting
- For blacklisting to become a criminal offence
- For companies caught blacklisting to be barred from bidding for public sector contracts.
Unite is campaigning for justice for workers who were historically blacklisted via the Consulting Association, and for workers who have been victims of contemporary blacklisting. The union has uncovered several recent cases of contemporary blacklisting.
This week, Unite announced that it had launched new high court proceedings to bring the ‘controlling minds’ behind the systematic blacklisting of workers to justice.
Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail, said: “The disgusting practice of blacklisting has not disappeared. Blacklisting will not be stamped out until the government brings in effective laws.
“Unite is uncovering fresh cases of contemporary blacklisting which demonstrates why urgent action is needed to end blacklisting once and for all.
“It is simply outrageous that companies who have been caught blacklisting and have ruined the lives of construction workers, have escaped virtually scot free and continue to be rewarded with public sector contracts.
“Unite will leave no stone unturned in our fight for justice for blacklisted workers and will use every avenue open to us; be it industrial, political or legal to win justice for our members.”
Unite assistant general secretary, Howard Beckett, said:“ It is simply unacceptable that those companies guilty of blacklisting continue to benefit from public procurement and simply beyond reason that those individuals who gave the instructions for the blacklist to be created remain at the top of the companies concerned and have not been subject to any discipline proceedings whatsoever.
“If our members arrive late for work, they are subject to discipline. The greedy bosses place trade unionists on blacklists, cost their companies millions of pounds in legal costs and damages, and get away without sanction.
“They think they live by different rules than the rest of us, well it is not acceptable and this is why Unite continues the legal fight for justice to see individuals who are responsible answer to a court of law.”
The Consulting Association was formed from the collapse of the Economic League in 1993 and was involved in blacklisting 3,213 construction workers. It was closed down following a raid of its premises in 2009 by the Information Commissioner’s Office.