Thursday, 26 May 2016

Undercover Police & Parliamentary Questions

1. Messages of support:
Early Day Motion in Westminster Parliament on Blacklisting High Court victory - submitted by Chris Stephens MP 
"That this House welcomes the recent public apology and admission of wrongdoing made by eight major construction firms in the High Court, and the settlement reached between the construction workers, Unite the Union, GMB and UCATT trade unions, the Blacklist Support Group and their legal teams with those construction firms that will mean that 771 blacklisted workers will share an estimated £50 million in compensation; praises the work of the Blacklist Support Group, the justice campaign and support network for those caught up in the UK construction industry blacklisting scandal; notes that trade unionists, safety campaigners, journalists, academics and environmental activists were all blacklisted by big business; further notes that blacklisting was exposed in 2009 after a raid on the offices of the Consulting Association that operated the blacklist on behalf of the major companies, and that trade union members were denied work over many years due to their trade union activity on previous building sites, raising concerns over asbestos, poor working conditions and unpaid wages; notes the investigation on this subject carried out by the Scottish Affairs Committee in the last Parliament; notes with concern media reports that senior police officers attended meetings of the blacklisting organisation; and calls on the Government to conduct a full public inquiry into the scandal of blacklisting".

'To the Comrades at the Blacklist Support Group: 
Congratulations on your struggle and on the fact that through your struggle you have prevailed. From the CFMEU Australia.'
David Noonan - National Secretary Construction Forestry Mining & Energy Union

'Whilst we must get the directors and companies in the dock - I have to say a huge well done to you all. The campaign has been a real inspiration to all class justice campaigners. In recent weeks we have witnessed a sea change with the Hillsborough verdict inspiring the Orgreave and Scottish Miners' justice campaigns and your case encouraging the campaign for a Pitchford style inquiry in Scotland. Please pass on my ongoing support to all comrades - I am very proud to have supported your campaign.'
Scottish Parliament - Motion Number: S5M-00002 - Lodged By: Neil Findlay MSP
Title: Blacklisting Compensation Payout
'That the Parliament welcomes the settlement reached between the construction workers and Unite the Union that will mean that 256 blacklisted workers, including workers from across the Lothians, will share more than £10 million in compensation; notes that this follows a £5.4 million settlement between the GMB and the same companies; believes that justice will only be served when the directors of the companies that were organising the blacklist are tried in court, and calls on the Scottish Government, councils, public bodies and the UK Government to end the issuing of contracts to the companies responsible until they have proven that they have self-cleansed.'

2. High Court media coverage 
This was just a small selection with blacklisted workers appearing on TV, radio & print media - well done to all those who represented.  

3. Undercover Police spying on activists 
Spycops conference - video footage of speeches about undercover police spying from Doreen Lawrence, John McDonnell, Helen Steel, Jenny Jones, Dave Smith, Michael Mansfield and many many more. 
Forget the BBC Undercover drama - these are the true stories of undercover police

Scottish Parliament Motion Number: S5M-00003 - Lodged By: Neil Findlay MSP
Title: Scotland, Pitchford and Undercover Policing
That the Parliament believes that a growing number of Scottish citizens have been identified as being involved in undercover policing scandals involving the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and the Special Demonstration Squad of the Metropolitan Police, either as victims or as officers working on cases; considers that these units operated in Scotland keeping political, environmental, trade union and other activists under surveillance using unethical and often illegal methods; understands that the Pitchford inquiry, established by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to look into undercover policing since the 1960s, does not cover Scotland in its remit; further understands that the Scottish Government has written to the UK Government asking for the inquiry to be extended to cover Scotland, and notes the view that, should this request be refused, the Scottish Government should set up its own inquiry so that all UK citizens, including those in Lothian who have been affected by what it considers this scandal can have the opportunity to get to the truth.

4. One struggle for justice:
Scottish Parliament Motion Number: S5M-00001 Lodged By: Neil Findlay
Title: Lessons from Hillsborough:
That the Parliament welcomes the verdict of the Hillsborough inquests, which determined that the 96 Liverpool football fans who died were unlawfully killed; congratulates the outstanding commitment and campaigning of the Hillsborough Justice Campaign; notes the behaviour and conduct of South Yorkshire Police throughout the whole Hillsborough story and believes that the findings of the inquest are such that many further questions arise in relation to other major events involving the police at that time; notes calls for an inquiry into events at Orgreave during the 1984-85 miners’ strike, and further notes the call by journalists at the Sunday Mail and the Scotland on Sunday for an inquiry into the policing of the strike in Scotland and a review of the convictions of those arrested, including many miners from across the Lothians.

4. Blacklisted by Skanska?
a journalist from Sweden is visiting London next week and would like to discuss with any workers blacklisted by Skanska - please email back if you would lie to meet up. 

5. Art Against Blacklisting
Coming Soon: World renowned blues artist Sean Taylor has recorded a track 'Blacklist Number One' which will be released as a campaign single by the Blacklist Support Group. Video and remixes are currently in production. This is the kind of thing to expect: 

The play 'Any Means Necessary' by Kefi Chadwick about undercover police spies is having a read through in London on 15th June - this is invitation only but blacklisted workers and people spied on by the police can get guest list by contacting BSG. 

Film producer Tom Wood is in the final stages of his documentary about the blacklisting scandal - watch this space for more details

Artists film maker Lucy Parker Blacklist project

6. Watch this space:
Places to look out for blacklisted workers in the near future: GMB Conference, Glastonbury Festival, UNITE conference, Durham Miners Gala, Hazards campaign conference, Marxism Festival, Orgeave Justice Conference - if you see us wearing our Blacklisted t-shirts, come and say 'hello'
After nearly 18 months on bail, Dave Smith is finally facing trial at the City of London Magistrates Court on 9th-10th June following his arrest while protesting against blacklisting on Crossrail. 

7. UCATT conference votes to merge with UNITE

8. Donations to good causes
There have been a number of people asking if they can make donations to support the campaign. There are many organisations that have stood shoulder to shoulder with blacklisted workers over the years but the organisations we are going to suggest are:

BSG / Rank & File (the rank and file of our movement is what gives us strength - the absolute bedrock of the blacklisting campaign)
Account Name: Joint Sites Committee 
Account Number: 30525480
Sort Code: 20-80-57

Reel News (you've all seen the videos - they don't make themselves) 
Account Name:REEL NEWS
Account Number:65265026
Sort Code: 08-92-99

Hazards (the safety magazine & campaign that have been with us from the very start and who run the excellent blacklist blog)
Account Name: Hazards
Account Number: 00688074 
Sort Code: 309751 - to subscribe or donate to Hazards magazine 

Undercover Research Group (specialize in exposing undercover police officers spying on activists)

9. And finally
An updated edition of 'Blacklisted' book is currently being written by Phil Chamberlain and Dave Smith. You will be pleased to hear that there is likely to be a break from BSG updates for the next few weeks. 

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