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TUC Blacklisting Day Of Action Nov 20th

Monday, September 9, 2013

TUC Congress Backs GMB Call For Blacklisters To Own Up, Clean Up And Pay Up With Day Of Action On November 20th

To be represented by a union is a civil right that must be protected with new laws backed by imprisonment and unlimited fines for anyone who interferes with it GMB tells TUC Congress.

The TUC Congress in Bournemouth has supported a GMB call for new laws and to blacklist the blacklisters off the public contracts until the own up, clean up, pay up. See notes to editors for copy of GMB speech and copy of TUC press release on TUC day of action on blacklisting on November 20th.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer moving the motion said “Charged in the High Court with blacklisting by GMB, Sir Robert Mc Alpine has broken cover and shopped its mates; like rats in a sack it has directly implicated 9 other construction companies including Carillion, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Laing O Rourke and Kier, dragging them into the litigation, saying they were all blacklisting too.

Left to their own devices they spied and they lied. What the companies say and what the companies do are two different things.

For any worker to be represented by a trade union in their workplace is a civil right that must be protected to the highest level, with new legislation backed by imprisonment and unlimited fines for anyone who interferes with it. For the Labour Party, these should be bread and butter manifesto commitments right now.

And the party can play another part in delivering justice; this motion calls for ethical procurement in national and local government and other public bodies, so companies who used the Consulting Association are barred from public contracts until they fully purge their guilt by apologising to, and compensating, their victims

Quite simply, it is time to blacklist the blacklisters off the public contracts they crave.

There is only one solution: the blacklisters must own up, clean up, pay up”.

End

Contact Justin Bowden 07710 631351 or GMB press office 07921 289880

Notes to editors

1 Copy of GMB speech on blacklisting motion at tuc congress.

Moving composite 15 – employment discrimination

President, Congress, Justin Bowden, GMB, moving composite 15.

The secret blacklisting of more than 3,000 trade unionists and environmentalists is no longer in dispute; the lies and denials have been replaced by finger-pointing and blame;

Charged in the High Court with blacklisting by GMB, Sir Robert Mc Alpine has broken cover and shopped its mates; like rats in a sack it has directly implicated 9 other construction companies including Carillion, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Laing O Rourke and Kier, dragging them into the litigation, saying they were all blacklisting too.

We know now for sure that policies dating back to the Thatcher years, policies designed to attack and undermine trade unions, went at least as far as infiltration by undercover cops and state forces collusion with big business. The same policeman who spied on supporters of Stephen Lawrence was gathering evidence on trade union activists. A black market in destroying workers’ reputations and job prospects. If celebrity phone-hacking was a national scandal, the secret conspiracy that denied workers employment without explanation, and ruined lives, is a civil rights outrage.

This motion demands a public inquiry; not an investigation by BIS, or heaven help us the ICO, but a full, Leveson-style public inquiry into blacklisting and the involvement of state forces in it.

The motion calls too for stronger legal protections and employment rights for all workers, - for blacklisting to become a criminal offence, but as recent revelations show that is not enough because the employers cannot be trusted: left to their own devices they spied and they lied. Weasels like Mc Alpine and Carillion whose company handbooks and websites loudly proclaim codes of practice, ethical policies, equality statements and all manner of jargonistic bullshit. Their fine words no longer fool anyone and time again it is their shameful actions, and inactions, which speak loudest of all; what the companies say and what the companies do are two different things. As Ian Davidson of the brilliant Scottish Affairs Committee investigation put it this week, it seems some in the industry “would murder their granny for profit”. And he’s right;

Under existing laws, for decades and with impunity, the employers and police systematically interfered with basic civil rights;

For any worker to be represented by a trade union in their workplace is a civil right that must be protected to the highest level, with new legislation backed by imprisonment and unlimited fines for anyone who interferes with it. For the Labour Party, these should be bread and butter manifesto commitments right now;

And the party can play another part in delivering justice; this motion calls for ethical procurement in national and local government and other public bodies, so companies who used the Consulting Association are barred from public contracts until they fully purge their guilt by apologising to, and compensating, their victims. When not a single penny has been paid in compensation, can we really allow those guilty of blacklisting to suck billions from the public purse?

Quite simply, it is time to blacklist the blacklisters off the public contracts they crave.

And the ICO must be brought to its senses and made to do the right thing. The chocolate fireguard of state regulation continues to dawdle; for nearly five years it has sat on its hands, yet to contact the 2,500 individuals still unaware they were blacklisted. The ICO must ask itself, in whose interest’s is this failure to act? The vested interests of those who broke the law, or the victims?

But when it comes to pig-headed arrogance, the corporate kings of blacklisting still reign supreme. Like modern day King Canutes, they sit on their thrones commanding the waves to go back as the water rises around their necks;

Self-righteously in denial of their inexcusable practices, they cast a shadow across the UK construction industry.

And, just before i finish; a quick “heads up” for all the human resources managers who ran the blacklists. When you got caught, GMB didn’t buy your crocodile tears of contrition; we’ve got unfinished business with you too; so expect a visit from us soon.

Above all, to the construction companies who profited from the secret blacklist they set up and paid for, to the police and state forces who shared information they secretly gathered with big business - this isn’t going to go away; not today, not tomorrow, not ever; there is only one solution: own up, clean up, pay up.

Please support. I move.

2 Text of TUC press release

TUC announces day of action against blacklisting

The TUC has today (Sunday) announced that it is to hold a national day of action against blacklisting on Wednesday 20 November.

Protests will be held up and down the country and there will be lobby of Parliament in London.

The TUC and unions are unhappy that companies who have blacklisted workers have still not been held accountable. They want a Leveson-style inquiry into the practice.

The TUC and unions are calling on the government to introduce the following measures:

· A judge-led inquiry must be carried out into the practice of blacklisting.

· All companies must be asked if they have ever complied, used, sold or supplied information that could be used for blacklisting.

· Companies that refuse to comply or apologise and compensate victims if they have engaged in blacklisting should be barred from bidding for any public sector contracts.

· Blacklisting should be made a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is a clear need for a Leveson-style inquiry into blacklisting to make sure it is stamped out once and for all.

“It is essential that companies who have blacklisted workers own up, clean up and pay up.

“Blacklisting is a shameful practice that has no place in a modern society. It causes misery for those blacklisted and their families and it puts lives at risk. It is scandalous that so many people’s livelihoods have been ruined or put at risk just for raising health and safety concerns.

“The government cannot sit on the fence any longer. Blacklisting must be made a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment and an unlimited fine.”

Blacklisting will be debated at the TUC’s annual conference in Bournemouth this afternoon.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- The day of action will be coordinated by the TUC with the support of all the main unions in the construction industry. There will a lobby of Parliament in London, along with other activities up and down the country including events in Scotland and Wales.

- Times and speakers at the Central London lobby will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

- The TUC's campaign plan can be downloaded from www.tuc.org.uk/campaignplan

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Rob Holdsworth M: 07717 531150 E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
Alex Rossiter M: 07887 572130 E: arossiter@tuc.org.uk

 

 

 

 

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