Apr 19 2013


Blacklisting continues on a daily basis up and down the country. Why, oh why? With our best trade union activists denied work and kept off-sits, this massively lessens our ability to organise and stand up to building employers on site. This means no ELECTED conveners or other shop stewards or safety reps, and our lives at risk every day with no one we can trust to negotiate on our behalf with site management.


Des Warren - jailed Shrewsbury picket - political policing and employer blacklisting go hand-in-hand in the construction industry

Des Warren – jailed Shrewsbury picket – political policing and employer blacklisting go hand-in-hand in the construction industry

Employers, whose only concern is amassing ever more profit and wealth, see building workers in trade unions as troublesome and awkward and a threat to what they see as their absolute right to exploit and extract as much profit as [in]humanly possible from us. All this with no regard whatsoever for anything else like health and safety, or wages and conditions. If they could get away with it, they would put us all on or below the minimum wage (which quite a few are already on), and bring in more workers from overseas-who they see as cheap labour-but who we see as fellow workers entitled to decent wages-to make up the numbers. Although they basically don’t like unions, they are quite happy to work with, and control, APPOINTED full-time officials and stooge convener stewards. What they do not want are ELECTED site stewards who will strive to ensure sites [that] are 100% safe, and workers on them earn good wages and have decent working conditions. And if you hint at any of these things in today’s construction industry, you are sacked and blacklisted on the spot. Witness Crossrail dispute. This cannot be allowed to continue any longer. Enough is Enough!


We applaud the Blacklist Support Group, and also thank those in the unions, like the sparks in UNITE, as well as Labour MPs in Parliament, European MPs, plus all those journalists and their organisations who have helped so much to publicise, and helped so much in the fight against this anti-social, anti-democratic and sinister practice. We also thank lawyers Guney Clark and Ryan, without whom we blacklisted workers would have been left legally high and dry. Together we have put blacklisting on the political, social and legal map of Britain, and the sparks with their action over BESNA , and now Crossrail, have put it firmly on the industrial map.


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Jan 01 2013


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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