Apr 09 2015

BLACKLISTED

Brian Higgins, a much blacklisted building worker and Secretary of the rank and file Building Workers Group, reviews Blacklisted, The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists, by David Smith and Phil Chamberlain.

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This much needed book is a powerful and always compelling expose. It is sometimes moving with first hand accounts by the victims of the extremely sinister blacklisting conspiracy conducted by multi national building employers and others against organised labour in the construction industry.

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Mar 24 2014

UNDERCOVER BUT WITHIN SITES – POLICE INFILTRATION OF TRADE UNIONS

Emancipation & Liberation has been covering the long term of blacklisting of building worker, Brian Higgins.  Brian has also been involved over many years in a struggle with the UCATT bureaucracy. More recently, developments  over Stephen Lawrence have highlighted the use of undercover police to infiltrate defence campaigns. Here Mark Metcalf reveals how the police infiltrated the Brian Higgins Defence Campaign. 

 

Mark Jenner, police infiltrator into the Brian Higgins Defence Campaign

Mark Jenner, police infiltrator into the Brian Higgins Defence Campaign

 

The government has just ordered an inquiry into the role of undercover police spies. Mark Metcalf, who first revealed the activities of one spy in The Big Issue in the North three years ago, reveals more about his activities and asks whether the inquiry will go far enough.

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Mar 25 2013

BLACKLISTED JERRY HICKS CANDIDATE FOR UNITE GENERAL SECRETARY SPEAKS OUT

Emancipation & Liberation has been giving its support to Jerry Hicks, the rank and file candidate for the General Secretary of UNITE. In this article reprinted from the rank and file Siteworker bulletin, Jerry attacks the current UNITE leadership’s ‘Johnny-come-lately’ attitude towards the pernicious system of blacklisting, of which Jerry has himself been a victim.

thBlacklisting of workers is a ‘National scandal’ and the scandal is that it has gone on for so long and not enough was done by those shouting the loudest now.

Millions of people would be forgiven for thinking that the illegal blacklisting of 3,200 construction workers has suddenly been discovered. Yet it has been the worst kept secret for over two decades that those who spoke up with concerns for Health and Safety on construction sites or defended wages and conditions were punished and denied employment. Brave people paid a heavy price as each year, each month, each day brought more discrimination – more lives were being wrecked, houses lost to repossession, stress induced ill health, heart attacks and even worse.

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Jan 01 2013

COLLUSION AND BETRAYAL

The blacklist is one of the most pernicious tools in the employers’ armoury.  In 2009, its widespread use in the building industry was highlighted by the Information Commissioner’s Office. However, what has also come to light is the collusion of trade union officials in its operation. The article below, revealing the activities of these officials,  is from the latest issue of the rank and file Site Worker paper. More evidence of their betrayals will probably come to light. It may take longer though for information about the third arm of the offensive against trade union activists to surface – the actions of the state. For, ever since the 1972 Building Workers Strike, which led to the jailing of the Shrewsbury Pickets, the state has been determined to ensure that no such challenge  should arise again – and the employers and trade union officialdom have been central to their plans.

Flying pickets in the 1972 Building Workers Strike

Flying pickets in the 1972 Building Workers Strike

When it came to light, after the Information Commissioner’s Office exposed the Consulting Association’s (CA) construction blacklist in 2009, that some Unite and UCATT officials had allegedly been supplying information about rank and file union members directly to the CA, a new trade union low had been reached.

Union officials are supposed to safeguard and protect rank and file union members from the worst excesses and practices of industrial corporations and the bosses who own and run them. Yet here we had union officials actually colluding with a secret employers’ blacklist in the building industry. Trade unionists in the construction industry were denied the right to work, earn a living and to make sites safe. This resulted in dreadful economic and social consequences for them and their families. There can be no greater breach of trade union trust or act of betrayal than this.

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