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Blacklisting bosses must “own up, clean up, pay up” in a public inquiry, trade union leaders said yesterday after backing a national day of protest against the practice.
It was revealed over four years ago that a shocking 3,213 people had been blacklisted by construction companies — most simply for being trade union members.
But successive governments have taken almost no action against the blacklisters and most victims still do not know they are included in the secret files.
GMB national officer Justin Bowden told the TUC Congress how “undercover cops and state forces colluded with big business” to “destroy workers’ reputations and job prospects.”
He said: “If celebrity phone-hacking was a national scandal, the secret conspiracy that denied workers’ employment without explanation and ruined lives is a civil rights outrage.”
Only a “Leveson-style public inquiry” would force blacklisters and their police informants to “own up, clean up, pay up,” he said.
Blacklisted Ucatt member Bill Parry told Congress: “I want justice for every single person who was blacklisted. And we need to ensure that blacklisting never happens again. In construction or any other industry.”
And Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said that there was “no place to hide” for blacklisting firms, whose “crimes will not go away.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It is scandalous that so many people’s livelihoods have been ruined or put at risk just for raising health and safety concerns.”
The TUC has called a nationwide day of action against blacklisting on Wednesday November 20 to pile the pressure on politicians to call an inquiry and cut off public cash to blacklisting companies.
It also wants blacklisting to be made a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
Unite deputy general secretary Gail Cartmail said the only way to end the “morally indefensible practice” was to “give the law real teeth.”
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