GMB Experts in the World of Work
Join GMB today
 Follow @GMB_union

GMB Takes Met To ICO Over Blacklisting

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

GMB TAKES MET POLICE TO ICO OVER BLACKLISTING AS SCOTLAND YARD IGNORES FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

3,213 secretly blacklisted construction workers and environmentalists deserve to know exactly what role the police played says GMB.

GMB, the union for construction workers, has referred the Metropolitan Police to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) after the force failed to answer a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

On April 9, GMB filed a request for the Met Police’s full internal investigation report, all emails relating to the report and details of overt and covert meetings between officers and members of blacklisting organisations.

The statutory deadline for Scotland Yard to respond passed at the end of May and despite a follow up letter [1], GMB has received no response leaving the union no option but to refer the Met to the ICO.

On Monday, June 25, the BBC Victoria Derbyshire Live programme carried a special investigation by journalist Simon Cox into police involvement with blacklisting. 

The programme included interviews with former undercover police officer Peter Francis, Rebecca Long-Bailey MP, Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire Julia Mulligan - who called the Met's approach 'a cover up' - and blacklisted workers Dave Smith, Roy Bentham and Steve Acheson. [2]

In a letter in March, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Richard Martin, admitted: “Police, including Special Branches, supplied information that appeared on the Blacklist, funded by the country's major construction firms.

“The report concludes that, on the balance of probabilities, the allegation that the police or Special Branches supplied information is 'proven'.  

“Material revealed a potentially improper flow of information from Special Branch to external organisations, which ultimately appeared on the blacklist." [3]

Blacklisting came to light in 2009 when the ICO seized a database from an organisation called The Consulting Association with details of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists, used by 44 companies (including  household names like Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci) to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. [See note 4 for a regional breakdown of blacklisted workers]

GMB brought the first blacklisting cases in the High Court in November 2013 [5] and organised the ‘Crocodile Tears’ protests at locations across the UK to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters, who have still to come clean and apologise for their actions. [6]

In 2016, on behalf of the 44 companies involved, eight firms (Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci) paid total compensation to 771 claimants of blacklisting totalling £75m, including legal costs on both sides estimated at £25m.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Secretary, said:

“It is shameful that the Metropolitan Police are obstructing GMB’s quest for the truth. 

“It is bad enough the state spied on its own citizens engaged in lawful activities, but to seek to block those affected from a chance of closure compounds the crime against those they targeted. 

“Those spied on have a right to know who, what, where, when and why information was shared between the police, and on whose orders it was carried out. 

“Scotland Yard has a duty to hand over this information.

“GMB was the first union to lodge High Court claims for those blacklisted and the first to call for a Public Inquiry, something that is still required."

ENDS

Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710 631351; or GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes to editors

[1] Contact GMB press office for a copy of FOI request and correspondence 

[2] Clips from Victoria Derbyshire programme

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06c1693

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-44581662/i-m-a-trade-unionist-not-a-terrorist

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAbJQDQRkh4&feature=youtu.be

[3] http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/blacklisting-constitutional-crisis

[4] See below list and map attached for regional breakdown of blacklisted workers

Location

Number on the blacklist

 

Location

Number on the blacklist

 

 

Aberdeen City

14

 

Kent

95

Aberdeenshire

54

 

Kingston upon Hull

62

Anglesey

3

 

Lancashire

60

Angus

5

 

Leeds

53

Argyll & Bute

7

 

Leicestershire

5

Bath and North East Somerset

1

 

Lincolnshire

13

Bedfordshire

4

 

Manchester

183

Berkshire

2

 

Merseyside

173

Birmingham

69

 

Midlothian

3

Bristol

25

 

Monmouthshire

9

Buckinghamshire

20

 

Norfolk

7

Cambridgeshire

12

 

North Ayrshire

67

Cardiff

10

 

North Lanarkshire

22

Ceredigion

9

 

North Yorkshire

12

Cheshire

64

 

Northamptonshire

14

City of London

454

 

Northern Ireland

1

Clackmannanshire

3

 

Northumberland

7

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

3

 

Nottinghamshire

12

Cumbria

27

 

Orkney Islands

1

Denbighshire

34

 

Oxfordshire

8

Derbyshire

16

 

Perth & Kinross

2

Devon

19

 

Powys

2

Dorset

8

 

Redcar and Cleveland

43

Dumfries & Galloway

6

 

Renfrewshire

15

Dundee City

21

 

Rhondda Cynon Taf

2

Durham

11

 

Rhondda, Cynon, Taff

3

East Ayrshire

18

 

Rotherham

56

East Lothian

1

 

Shropshire

2

East Riding of Yorkshire

16

 

Somerset

5

East Sussex

8

 

South Lanarkshire

16

Edinburgh, City of

52

 

Southern Ireland

1

Essex

57

 

Staffordshire

16

Falkirk

35

 

Stirling

7

Fife

24

 

Suffolk

9

Glasgow City

140

 

Surrey

32

Gloucestershire

32

 

Swansea

15

Gwynedd

12

 

Tyne & Wear

69

Hampshire

50

 

Warwickshire

1

Hereford & Worcester

3

 

West Dunbartonshire

8

Hertfordshire

14

 

West Lothian

12

Highland

15

 

West Sussex

11

Inverclyde

26

 

Wiltshire

5

Isle of Wight

1

 

Wokingham

10


[5] http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/blacklisting-claims-in-high-court

[6] http://www.gmb.org.uk/campaigns/blacklisting

 

{LINK_TO_UNSUBSCRIBE} 

Share this page
+1