Independent investigation sought into “flagrant abuse of power” that destroyed livelihoods of thousands of workers
Construction workers are to ask the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to investigate claims of collusion between the police and a secret industry blacklisting operation.
In 2009 the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) seized files on more than 3,200 people from the Consulting Association. This firm was paid by the construction industry to carry out vetting on employees – particularly those involved in trade union activities.
Now, an investigator from the ICO has revealed that details in some of the files could only have come from the police or security services.
Subsequently, both the Prime Minister and Home Secretary have resisted calls from MPs to hold a public inquiry into the affair. Blacklisted workers are now in the process of identifying appropriate files in order to lodge a complaint with the IPCC.
They will be pressing for a full and independent investigation, rather than one conducted by the police themselves, because of the breadth and seriousness of the allegations.
Labour MP John McDonnell said: “This is our attempt to expose the collusion that that effectively destroyed the livelihoods of 3,200 workers and trade unionists because they stood up for their fellow workers.
“We hope that through the IPCC we can gain information that will help us purse other cases.”
Kat Craig, specialist police action lawyer at Christian Khan solicitors, said evidence from the ICO suggested there had been a “flagrant abuse of power by state agents” which warranted investigation.
“The clear and reasonable demand is now that, at the very least, the complaints must be subjected to an independent and transparent investigation,” said Craig, who is supporting the blacklist support group.
“We will be calling on the IPCC to investigate the complaints at the highest level, to uncover any police misconduct and the depths to which it ran, and to ensure those responsible are held to account.”
Meanwhile the Scottish Parliament and police are also being pressed to reveal what they know about collusion. Labour MSP Drew Smith has tabled a series of parliamentary questions asking them to divulge any information they have.
Dave Smith, spokesman for the Blacklist Support Group said they still had many unanswered questions about collusion between state security agencies and private companies.
“Leveson has shone a light on the hidden links between the media and the police but we have been denied a similar investigation,” he said.
“Theresa May has forced us to go down the IPCC route but we will continue to demand a full public inquiry until we discover the truth about the web of the corruption between the state and big business.”
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