I recently pledged my support to Unite the Union’s call for an end to blacklisting in the construction sector.
In 2009 the Information Commissioner’s Office uncovered a blacklist held by an organisation called the Consulting Association. The list contained the names and personal details of over 3,000 known trade union and health and safety activists within the construction sector.
The list was used by over 40 construction companies to vet new recruits, leaving many of the individuals concerned unable to find work.
This scandal has caused untold distress, destroying livelihoods, tarnishing reputations and in many cases resulting in family breakdown.
Unfortunately, the discovery of the blacklist in 2009 does not appear to have led to an end to the practice. Unite the Union has expressed its belief that blacklisting continues across the UK and is calling for companies who are proved to be engaged in blacklisting to be barred from tendering for public contracts in Scotland. Alongside this the union is also calling for a full public inquiry.
I am deeply concerned that blacklisting is continuing in Scotland and fully support moves to ensure those engaged in it are held accountable and that those affected are compensated for the damage done.
Several local authorities across the country have accepted motions condemning the practice of blacklisting and I welcome this support.
Alongside the actions called for in Unite’s pledge, Scottish Labour is also urging the Scottish Government to tackle the issue head on through its Procurement Reform Bill. I’ll be taking a keen interest in the bill when it is presented to the Parliament in the autumn.