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Progressives play tribute to Britain's ‘most blacklisted construction worker’

POLITICIANS and trade unionists have paid tribute to Britain's “most blacklisted construction worker” Brian Higgins, who died at the weekend.

Mr Higgins, who was from Glasgow but lived in Northampton, was an activist and national figure in former construction union Ucatt, now a part of Unite.

He was one of the major figures in the fight against the blacklisting of trade unionists by construction companies.

In documents uncovered during the investigation into blacklisting practices, it was revealed that the surveillance file started on Mr Higgins by the Consulting Association (CA) blacklisting firm started in 1978.

His file was over 49 pages in length, leading the Blacklist Support Group to claim that Mr Higgins was the most blacklisted worker in Britain.

He was also spied on by Mark Jenner, the undercover police agent and member of the now discredited Special Demonstration Squad.

In the mid-80s, Mr Higgins was one of six building workers and active trade unionists who were “locked out” from working on a south London building site operated by the construction firm John Laing.

Blacklist Support Group spokesman Dave Smith said: “It is undeniable that Brian was one of the leading rank-and-file industrial militants of his generation, who had a significant impact on trade unionism in the construction industry.”

A motion in the Scottish Parliament tabled by Labour MSP Neil Findlay called Mr Higgins a “working-class hero,” but said that he had been “denied justice” due to delays in various inquiries and investigations into blacklisting.

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