Thursday, 24 October 2013

European Parliament votes for draft Data Protection Directive

THE European parliament has voted in favour of an amendment in the draft Data Protection Directive which would make blacklisting on the basis of trade union activity a breach of EU law.
Labour MEPs managed to secure support for an amendment that states personal data cannot be used to put workers on a blacklist.
Glenis Willmott MEP, Labour's leader in Europe, added: 
'Although we've always known blacklisting is illegal, so far none of the companies involved has been punished. Now the law is absolutely clear - using information on employees' political beliefs or trade union membership to blacklist them is illegal, and governments must adopt appropriate sanctions to enforce this.'
Claude Moraes, Labour's European spokesperson on justice and civil liberties, added:
'Within this new legal framework on data protection we have managed to ensure information on someone's trade union membership and activities is classed as extra sensitive data and therefore warrants greater protection. This amendment will ensure there is no doubt it is against the law to use this information to draw-up a blacklist, or to share a blacklist to help vet potential employees.'
Labour MEPs press release:
Brian Higgins - blacklisted bricklayer - spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group said:
'This is a tremendous breakthrough for the fight against blacklisting in the construction industry and industry in general. It lays the legislative foundation and gives us the opportunity to put pressure on the UK government to bring in legislation which will deter any further blacklisting by making this a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for those employers who engage in this vile practice.
'Hopefully, this will eventually mean no more workers or their families will have to suffer the living social and economic hell of blacklisting and the deliberate denial of so many human rights and freedoms which go with this. They can join a union and organise to protect themselves and their wages and working conditions and improve these on occasion without the fear of a dreaded blacklist hanging over them.
'I and all others involved in the fight against blacklisting say a huge thank you to Labour MEPs Glenis, Willmott, Stephen Hughes and all the other MEPs and support workers involved in this superb achievement which will benefit all workers' employment rights Europe wide. No mean feat.'
Brian Higgins was the first blacklisted worker to raise the issue with Glenis Willmot and other MEPs. Brian led the Blacklist Support Group delegation to Brussels in 2011 which met EU Commissioner Andor with the assistance of Stephen Hughes MEP (pic attached) which resulted in the first questions asked about blacklisting in the european parliament. 

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