Unite demands public inquiry into blacklisting

Unite demands public inquiry into blacklisting

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TUC Risks

Construction union Unite renewed its demand for a public inquiry into blacklisting this week and backed calls by the Labour MP Chuka Umunna to strengthen the law to prevent blacklisting from happening.

The call came ahead of an 8 February Westminster Hall debate on blacklisting led by the senior Labour MP. Acting Unite general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Unite fully backs Chuka Umunna’s renewed calls for a public inquiry and government action to prevent the insidious practice of blacklisting ruining ever more lives.”

She added: “The victims of blacklisting deserve nothing less than a full public inquiry and government action to strengthen the law and rid the construction industry of the stain of blacklisting forever.

The blacklisters should be under no illusion. Unite will continue to fight industrially, legally and politically to bring pressure to bear and secure justice for those who have been blacklisted.”

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett added: “The pernicious actions of crooked bosses continues to impact on people’s lives. Unite is currently pursuing legal action for over 60 further victims of blacklisting and remains ever vigilant of contemporary blacklisting.

Unite is determined to secure justice for those who have been blacklisted and challenge abuses such as bogus self-employment and the abuse of agency labour.”

Business minister Margot James, responding on behalf of the government, said the practice had been a “terrible blight and indictment of the companies.”

But she rejected the calls for an inquiry, saying that too much time had passed since the height of the practice.

“Such an inquiry would have had an effect 20 years ago, and I regret very much there wasn’t one held then,” she said. She said the government was “not currently aware of any evidence that the blacklisting regulations are not doing their job.” Unions say the process continues and the existence of the database, which led to the legislation, was only revealed as recently as 2009.

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