Friday, 31 May 2013

TUC Conference Blacklist Motion & Mr. Tapp

GEORGE Tapp, injured two weeks ago on a picket when a car ran into him, spoke yesterday to Northern Voices in the trauma ward at the Salford Royal Hospital about the incident which took place on the 15th, May, outside the Manchester City ground.  The electrician Mr. Tapp, though shaken-up by the event, talked calmly for an hour to two local journalists from Northern Voices without bitterness or animosity about the events leading up to the car driving into him on a picket that had been called to challenge the companies involved in blacklisting:  BAM the company presently doing work on Manchester City's Etihad Stadium is alleged to have been affiliated to the now defunct Consulting Association, that was managed up until March 2009 in the Midlands by the notorious blacklist coordinator; the now late Ian Kerr.  After that, it was closed down following a raid by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), and Mr. Kerr was found guilty of operating an illegal data base (blacklist) containing the names of over 3,000 building workers; it was also later claimed by the ICO that Mr. Kerr had other files relating to other industries and professions. 

Last night, George Tapp complained from his hospital bed of sloppy reporting in some local newspapers, and expressed his concern at some of the reports in the press which seemed to imply that the workers and protesters had brought the suffering upon themselves.

Meanwhile Mr. Tapp told us that he much appreciated the support he had received from well-wishers, fellow trade unionists, and members of Salford Council.  He particularly mentioned Len McClusky, Jerry Hicks, Ian Stewart, the Mayor of Salford, and Alec McFadden, the North West representative of the TUC-JCC, who has an office at the Salford Unemployed Resource Centre.

Tomorrow, the Greater Manchester County Association of Trade Union Councils (TUCs) will be joining others in moving a composite motion at the National Conference of TUCs in London condemning blacklisting.  The composite motion states: 
'We express disgust that 44 construction companies, exposed as blacklisters by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) escaped without penalty.  Conference notes that the police and security services may have been complicit in the Consulting Association's activities and that blacklist records have also been kept on academics and journalists.'

The motion further states that:
'(i)  The regulations need to be strengthened and that it should be a criminal offence to supply, compile, solicit or use information in connection with a prohibited list;
(ii)  No public contracts should be awarded to any company that has used blacklisting unless they apologise for their action, pay appropriate compensation and where possible, provide employment.
(iii)  Any companies which use blacklisting or do not abide by national collective agreements and/or victimise union reps are not welcome in England and Wales.'

The motion asks Conference, among other things, to call upon the TUC to:
'Consider how to have full input into influencing the way that public procurement works in England and Wales to protect workers' rights... ' and to 'Support demands for a full investigation/ public inquiry into blacklisting, both past and present, and into the intimate involvement of both the police and security services in these iniquitous practices.' and to 'Draw up a list of local authorities that are awarding contracts to blacklisters like Carillion, and try to get them to award publicly funded contracts to companies that are not among the 44 firms that were affiliated to the Consulting Association.'  and to 'Demand that the ICO notifies all persons listed on the Consulting Association's blacklist files in the same way that victims were notified in the phone hacking scandal.'

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