Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Voices' helps do it again!

SINCE 2003, Northern Voices has been in the forefront of the battle to get justice for blacklisted workers, and Tameside Trade Union Council has helped local electricians in Manchester to produce a newsletter entitled the 'North West Cowboy'. In the last year or so this Trades' Council has been trying unsuccessfully to get  local council leader, Kieran Quinn, to explain why Tameside MBC is awarding contracts to firms like Carillion that have been affiliated to 'The Consulting Association', which has blacklisted workers for years.

Today finally the Labour Party nationally took up the job they should have been doing years ago.

Today, Labour having forced a debate will call for action to stop the blacklisting of workers and a full investigation of blacklisting allegations, including in relation to major public projects such as Crossrail and the Olympic Park in a House of Commons opposition day debate next week.

In 2009, the Information Commissioner found secret files on thousands of workers in the construction sector resulted in people being denied employment and their livelihoods after raising legitimate health and safety concerns or exercising their human right to belong to a trade union, and were used by more than 40 of the UK’s largest construction firms. This week, construction firm Balfour Beatty confirmed that it conducted blacklisting checks on individuals seeking work on construction of Olympic venues.

Many of those affected still haven't a clue that they were included on the secret construction blacklist which was uncovered by the Information Commissioner’s Office in a raid in 2009. Questions remain on why the ICO did not seize other documents found at the scene. In next week’s debate, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna will call for the Information Commissioner to adopt a proactive process for informing individual victims of blacklisting so that they can seek compensation.

Labour’s motion asks the Government to examine whether further changes are needed to ensure that appropriate, effective sanctions are in place to tackle and prevent blacklisting.
Recent evidence which has emerged as part of a Scottish Affairs Committee Parliamentary inquiry into blacklisting in employment has brought forward allegations of widespread use of blacklists in relation to major public sector construction projects and that intelligence used to compile blacklists came from police officers and the security services, as well as revealing the existence of a further blacklist of environmental activists. 
Chuka Umunna MP, Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, commenting said:
Blacklisting is a national scandal. Workers have had their livelihoods destroyed, their reputations tarnished and in some cases their families torn apart just because they raised health and safety concerns or were a member of a trade union. And the further tragedy is that many of those affected have no idea that they have been blacklisted. 
'As well as investigating blacklisting allegations in full, including those relating to public construction projects, Ministers need to look again at what changes need to be made to ensure blacklisting is prevented and that this scandal is never repeated again.' 

That's twice in three months that the Voices has helped to crack it and bring cases out into the open!  The last job we did was to help destroy the myth of Cyril Smith back in November.


Jason said...

Well done N.V., saw it on news last night a lot of hard work over the years.

Kevin said...

I noticed that the Blacklist,Ian Kerr & the Consultation Association made BBC News this morning (Wed. 23/01/13).
Well I hope you get credit for your work as I am aware that you highlighted the Blacklist nearly 50years ago when the Economic League were active.
It also looks like national journalists have picked up on Northern Voices coverage of the Blacklist.
I just hope the 3000+ people mentioned on the news this morning are able to claim as so many lives have been affected over the years by Blacklisting.(including your life too of course)

bammy said...

Yes, Kevin, I remember that after the engineering apprentices strike in November 1964, that both me and Jim Pinkerton were denounced in a newsletter issued by the Economic League. At that time I had helped to edit a news sheet called 'Industrial Youth', and Jim had written something for it, signing it 'J.P.'. We were both outed as 'anarchists' and members of the Syndicalist Workers Federation, in a very flattering report distributed by one of the local Oldham engineering firms to their apprentices.