Parliamentary inquiry hears call that executives of companies which have ‘blacklisted’ building workers over their trade union activities should be held accountable


The executives of companies which have ‘blacklisted’ building workers over their trade union activities should be held accountable, MPs have heard.

A parliamentary inquiry into blacklisting of trade unionists in the building industry has been told that the practice is ‘still clearly going on today’.

Dave Smith, the secretary of the Blacklisting Support Group, was giving evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, which held the second session on Tuesday of what is expected to be a six-month investigation into accusations that the practice by construction companies continues to operate in the building trade, the North Sea oil and gas industries and parts of the NHS.

“Blacklists don’t compile themselves,” Dave Smith told UnionNews .

“They are compiled by managers.

“And it’s always the heads of the Human Resources departments or the directors of these companies who are the people doing the blacklisting and we think they should be called to account.”

Dave Smith (pictured, centre, with supporters and other blacklisted workers outside the House of Commons) told MPs that blacklisting has been used by a number of Scottish-based construction firms, such as Balfour Beatty and MacAlpine and remains widespread in the offshore industries.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee, chaired by Glasgow South-West MP Ian Davidson, opened the inquiry last month and expects to issue a report in October.

MPs are seeking evidence that the practice is continuing north of the border.

Campaigners hope that this first investigation may also trigger further inquiries by MPs with constituencies in England and Wales.

Earlier this week, the GMB issued a report which found blacklisting ‘hotspots’ centred on London and the south-east and Merseyside.

Says Dave Smith: “It’s clearly still going on today.

“It’s happening at the Olympic Games, the biggest building site in the world at the moment, people are being victimised because of the blacklist.

“If these were celebrities, it would be all over the newspapers, but because they are building workers, there’s hardly anything about it at all.”

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