Friday, 30 January 2015


The letter below published in tomorrow's
in response to the decision of Rochdale Council
to oppose 'Zero Hours Contracts':
Dear Editor,
While it is welcome that Rochdale Council has now taken a stand against 'zero-hours contracts', local trade unionists ought to be concerned that Rochdale Council, a Labour Council, apparently still hasn't adopted an Ethical Procurement Policy with regard to awarding public contracts to firms which are known to have blacklisted workers on British building sites. Colin Lambert, when he was Council leader did condemn such practises, and Jim Dobbin, when MP for Heywood and Middleton, besides signing Early Day Motions against the blacklist did assure me that he was participating in the campaign against the blacklisting of workers in the British building trade.
Despite this, Rochdale MBC has in the recent past awarded contracts to Carillion and Kier: since 2009, when the Information Commissioner raided an office in Droitwich, we have been aware that both of these companies were affiliated to the Consulting Association. Later the manager of the Consulting Association, Ian Kerr, was to plead guilty at Knutsford Crown Court to possessing an illegal data-base or blacklist with 3,213 workers' names on it.
Apart from the robust efforts of the late Jim Dobbin, I am not aware of any other local MPs who have taken a stand against the British blacklist. Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group and one of the blacklisted workers on the illegal data-base of the Consulting Association, told me that the Green Party has a positive policy on blacklisting, and that the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, has participated on several of their demonstrations down South.
In these circumstances, it would be good if the current local MPs, Simon Danczuk and Liz McInnes, took a cue from the late Jim Dobbin and strove to make blacklisting a criminal offence. In the meantime the councillors on Rochdale MBC might adopt an Ethical Procurement Policy, which if enforced rigorously would amount to something more than resolutionary socialism
Brian Bamford: Secretary of Bury Unite Commercial Branch.

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