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Police Blacklisting Collusion Confirmed

Monday, October 14, 2013

GMB Call For Interfering With Worker’s Union Rights To Be Criminal Offence After IPCC Confirm Police Collusion With Blacklisting

Nothing less than prospect of prison will stop  this as denying workers their rights is now the norm in the low paid parts of the UK private sector says GMB

GMB, the union for construction workers, commented on the report in Observer of 13th October on admission by Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) that police colluded in secret plan to blacklist 3,200 building workers. See notes to editors for copy of press report.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. Less than 15% of the 3,214 people on the blacklist are aware that their names are on it after the ICO decided not to contact them directly. See table in notes to editors for where the blacklisted workers come from.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said "the law requires state forces to be neutral on relations between employers and workers and employers are by law bound to respect the civil rights of workers to seek help from unions.

However this confirmation by IPCC of involvement by police and managers in blacklisting workers shows that both police and employers had no respect for these laws.

It has to become a criminal offence for either police or managers to interfere or impede the civil rights of workers to seek help from unions.

Nothing less than prospect of prison will stop them and both CBI and IOD know this as denying workers their rights is now the norm in the low paid parts of the UK private sector"

End

Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

For union members to identify more names on the blacklist please call Phil Read at GMB on 01603 742 877 or 07840 897997 or email him blacklisted@gmb.org.uk

Contact Dave Smith 07882 579 452 re Blacklist Support Group

Notes to editors

1 Copy of report in Observer of 13th October

Police colluded in secret plan to blacklist 3,200 building workers

IPCC tells lawyers representing victims it is likely that all special branches were involved in providing information

Daniel Boffey, policy editor The Observer, Saturday 12 October 2013 20.55 BST

The admission of collusion has been welcomed by those campaigning for victims.

 Police officers across the country supplied information on workers to a blacklist operation run by Britain's biggest construction companies, the police watchdog has told lawyers representing victims.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has informed those affected that a Scotland Yard inquiry into police collusion has identified that it is "likely that all special branches were involved in providing information" that kept certain individuals out of work.

The IPCC's disclosure confirms suspicions voiced by the information commissioner's office last year that the police had been involved in providing some of the information held on the files, as revealed by this newspaper.

The admission has been welcomed by campaigners for the 3,200 workers whose names were on the blacklist that was run for construction companies as "absolute evidence" of a conspiracy between the state and industry that lasted for decades.

Dave Smith, an engineer who had a 36-page file under his name and was repeatedly victimised for highlighting safety hazards on sites, including the presence of asbestos, said he was delighted that the IPCC had revealed "the truth". He added: "For the past five years, when we have been saying the police were involved, we were told we were talking nonsense and it was a conspiracy theory. They wanted it to go away. Now we have the absolute evidence and this is no longer about industrial relations but is a major human rights scandal involving a conspiracy between the police and the industry."

The blacklist, run by a company called the Consulting Association, funded by 40 major firms in the construction industry including Balfour Beatty and Sir Robert McAlpine, was discovered in 2009 after a raid by the information commissioner's office. Since then, the victims have fought to find out who was providing information against them. The IPCC's correspondence is regarded as a major breakthrough.

However, the watchdog's disclosure has been disputed by a subsequent letter to the victims' solicitors. This was sent by a recently appointed senior investigating officer for the inquiry into the activities of undercover police officers, known as Operation Herne.

In a letter, seen by the Observer, detective inspector Steve Craddock insists that the IPCC's statement is incorrect and that he has seen "no conclusive evidence" that Scotland Yard shared information with the blacklisters.

The IPCC is standing by its correspondence, which it says was informed by discussions with the Metropolitan Police and that "developments since that ... are a matter for the Metropolitan Police".

In response, a spokesman for Craddock said Operation Herne's investigating officer was "aware of the apparent contradiction and is looking into how that may have arisen". She added: "Operation Herne will report on the 'blacklisting' matter to the Metropolitan Police commissioner in due course."

The developments come as the group fighting for justice for the blacklisted workers has received confirmation of a meeting between undercover police officers and those running the blacklist in November 2008. The information commissioner's officers have confirmed in a freedom of information response that they hold notes from a meeting between the Consulting Association and officers from the police national extremism tactical co-ordination unit, which runs undercover officers.

The notes of the 2008 meeting are part of a haul of documents seized by the information commissioner's office when it discovered the existence of the secret blacklist during a raid on an office in Droitwich, Worcestershire.

Sir Robert McAlpine, which was allegedly a major player in the establishment and funding of the blacklist, is currently being sued in the high court over an unlawful conspiracy to amass a database of information against thousands of people.

Last week, in a dramatic twist, eight major construction companies, including Sir Robert McAlpine, announced that they would compensate some of the 3,213 workers whose names had been on a blacklist.

A statement said: "The companies – Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci – all apologise for their involvement with the Consulting Association and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker."

Claire Windsor, solicitor for the victims in regard to the complaint over police collusion, said her clients had lost any faith in the ability of the police to investigate themselves and that the blacklist support group was now calling for a judge-led independent inquiry into blacklisting.

2 Where blacklisted workers came from.

Blacklisted workers – number in each area

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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