Government Rejects Call for Construction Blacklist Investigation

23 - 01 - 2013

The government has rejected a call to investigate claims of the blacklisting of construction workers unless evidence is produced to prove that the practice is still going on.

The call for a ‘Leveson-style inquiry’ came after revelations that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) found a database used to vet construction workers when they raided the offices of the Consulting Association in 2009.

The blacklist included details such as the employment histories, trade union activity and personal information of over 3,000 construction workers.
Business secretary, Vince Cable told the House of Commons that an inquiry could not be launched unless hard evidence was found to show that blacklisting had occurred since it was outlawed in 2010.

‘It needs investigating if it is still going on – that is the essence of this,’ he said.
There have been claims that construction companies on major projects such as the Olympics and the Crossrail scheme through Central London checked potential employees against the list.

Cullum McAlpine, non-executive director of Sir Rober McAlpine, confirmed that the company had used the Consulting Association when working on the Olympic Park.
Crossrail chief executive, Andrew Wolstenholme, however, has denied involvement in blacklisting.
‘Crossrail Limited is not aware of, and has seen no evidence of, blacklisting of any kind in connection with the Crossrail project,’ he said.

‘Lives have been ruined’

Campaigners claim that the list has damaged lives by preventing construction workers from gaining employment.
General secretary of Unite, Len McCluskey, said: ‘This is a scandal on the scale of phone hacking, except it is the lives of thousands of ordinary construction workers which have been ruined. There should be a full and proper inquiry. Companies have been allowed to get away with a conspiracy to spy on thousands of ordinary construction workers and destroy their careers.’

‘Unacceptable practice’

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said: ‘The Government condemns blacklisting as a totally unacceptable practice. Legislation has been in place since 2010 to prohibit the use of blacklists following an investigation into the Consulting Association by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

‘We would strongly urge anyone who feels they have been a victim of blacklisting, or has any information suggesting that this practice is still occurring, to pass any evidence they have to the ICO.’






Foremans LLP Umberlla
Foremans LLP