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Blacklisting inquiry to be ‘beefed up,’ Unite announces

UNITE announced today that the inquiry into blacklisting in the construction industry will be “beefed up,” with new measures to search for evidence of union collusion.

A panel of lay members with personal experience of blacklisting will now oversee the gathering of evidence to be fed into an independent QC-led inquiry.

The panel is made up of Blacklist Support Group chairman Dave Smith and the two Unite executive council members for the construction sector, blacklisted electrician Frank Morris and Tony Seaman.

Mr Smith said: “The Blacklist Support Group applauds this announcement of a beefed-up and more independent investigation. 

“Any lingering doubts about the independence of the investigation have now been removed.”

The panel will agree the appointment and oversee the work of external forensic data experts to search the union’s servers for any evidence of collusion.

They will also oversee the work of external lawyers responsible for sorting and passing on any relevant evidence found in the Unite searches to the senior barrister who leads the inquiry.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is very important that blacklisted workers and their families can have total confidence in this inquiry. 

“I said we would do it and that no stone would be left unturned. I meant it.”

Law firm Thompsons, acting on behalf of Unite, has already begun preparing for the inquiry by gathering evidence from previous court cases and taking testimony from witnesses.

The deadline for the submission of such evidence has now been extended to January 28 next year.

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