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Construction boss must be brought to the High Court, Parliament hears

Unite says the aim of the Blacklist Support Group is to bring Cullum McAlpine to account under oath for his part in the scandal

CONSTRUCTION boss Cullum McAlpine must be brought to the High Court in June to account under oath for his part in the blacklisting of trade unionists, a meeting in Parliament has heard.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said the aim of her union and the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) is to make the Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd director face another High Court case.

The first legal proceedings concluded in 2016 with eight construction companies paying out £19.3 million to 412 blacklisted workers.

Unite says that the new case, which will start on June 4 and could last six weeks, will seek to ensure that Mr McAlpine gives evidence under oath.

BSG secretary Dave Smith told the meeting: “Compensation is nice but it’s not justice. We want Cullum McAlpine in court.”

The event was held yesterday evening when a damning new report, published to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the scandal’s exposure, confirmed that police shared information on trade unionists with blacklisting firms for decades.

The Metropolitan Police disclosed its Creedon Report to lawyers for the BSG because the latter has core participant status in a public inquiry into undercover policing.

Ms Cartmail said: “Nothing short of a full, public, standalone inquiry would do,” adding that “the political solution would be a Labour government.”

Blacklisting firms the Consulting Association and the Economic League were funded by the major construction firms such as Sir Robert McAlpine, Carillion and Balfour Beatty.  

According to the report, police special branches throughout the country had direct contact with the Economic League.

Cullum McAlpine was the original chair of the Consulting Association.

At the meeting, trade union barrister John Hendy QC said that blacklisting should be made a criminal offence for the company directors and members of management involved.

Labour in government should create a single status for workers with full employment rights from day one, he said – one of the recommendations of the Institute of Employment Rights’s Manifesto for Labour Law which has been backed by the party.

Mr Hendy said this would help end the “fake self-employment” that is common in the construction industry and the denial of rights that goes with it.

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