A leading backbench MP has welcomed a decision by construction giant, Balfour Beatty to re-instate a union activist, in a dispute which has led to accusations of blacklisting. Jim Sheridan, who chairs the Unite group of MPs at Westminster, says he was …

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A leading backbench MP has welcomed a decision by construction giant, Balfour Beatty to re-instate a union activist, in a dispute which has led to accusations of blacklisting.

Jim Sheridan, who chairs the Unite group of MPs at Westminster, says he was ‘pleased’ to hear that the sparks activist, Stewart Hume (pictured, right) is able to return to work, but says this success for campaigners will not deflect from wider efforts to rid the industry of the ‘despicable’ practice of blacklisting.

The electrician, Stewart Hume, was paid off by his employers last month, in a move which triggered accusations from senior Unite officials that he was being victimised and punished for his role in organising workers across central Scotland during the seven-month BESNA dispute.

Unite, rank and file activists and seven major construction firms were last year locked in a bitter industrial battle over the companies’ unilateral withdrawal from agreements covering pay, training and safety levels.

After warnings of a new wave of unofficial action at major construction sites and after his case was raised during a parliamentary investigation into blacklisting, Stewart Hume says his employers have notified him that he can return to work from Monday.

However, colleagues are concerned that his new contract with Balfour Beatty Engineering Services is time-limited to just four weeks.

Jim Sheridan told UnionNews: “I am very pleased that Stewart has been reinstated but I remain concerned that it appears that this work will only last for about a month.

“Whilst I am sure that this temporary respite will offer some relief to Stewart and his family, we still don’t have a permanent solution.”

“Despite this move by Balfour Beatty it will not deflect myself, the united workers and the trade unions from continuing to campaign to ensure that Balfour Beatty and all firms abandon the despicable practice of blacklisting.

“What this decision shows is that when workers come together and organise they can overcome despite the odds.”


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