Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Manchester Town Hall Blacklist Protest

SOME 50 people joined a protest outside Manchester Town Hall today as part of a TUC National Day of Action against the blacklist in the British building trade. The Manchester campaign action had been called by the Greater Manchester Contracting Branch of Unite the Union and supported by Tameside Trade Union Council, as part of the TUC's national Day of Action. Other protests are scheduled to take place today in London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Liverpool. In Manchester, over 1,000 leaflets have already been distributed at the Town Hall in the centre of Manchester. Manchester City Council is still awarding contracts to companies that were involved in blacklisting and who were affiliated to the Consulting Association, a body closed down after in 2009 the Information Commissioner discovered that it was operating an illegal data base or blacklist. Howard Bernstein the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, took a leaflet attacking the blacklist off me this morning, as he received it someone shouted 'Howard Bernstein you could stop all this!' Granada Reports has just done an interview with Graham Bowker one of the blacklisted electricians who helped to found the campaign against the blacklist during the Daf dispute in Manchester in 2003. As I write this several protesters including Graham Bowker and George Tapp have asked for an interview with either the leader of Manchester Council or some other senior councillor in the Labour dominated administration. A man representing the 'facilities staff' at the Town Hall has told them that all the senior councillors are in a meeting and that the protocol is to fix a meeting through the Democratic Services Department at the Town Hall. The blacklist protesters said that this is a serious issue of human rights and that as the protest was scheduled to last all the rest of today they would be available all day to see anyone who was suitable.