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Unite to work with blacklisted trade unionists to investigate collusion allegations

UNITE will be working with blacklisted trade unionists to investigate allegations that a number of union officials may have colluded with bosses in blacklisting workers.

A letter sent to the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) by Unite chief-of-staff Andrew Murray said the process will start in September.

The report will collect eyewitness and written statements from workers, as well as investigate documents found in the files of the Consulting Association blacklisting firm.

In these documents, blacklisters reported receiving information about rank-and-file trade unionists from some union officials.

The letter also stated that any official found guilty of collusion with blacklisters will be subject to disciplinary action.

Unite executive committee member for construction and BSG joint secretary Roy Bentham said: “We do not for one moment think that every union official was conspiring with construction employers against their own members, but it is simply a fact that a number of blacklist files name union officials as the source of information.

“This dark cloud of possible officer collusion, which has caused so much friction within the construction unions, needs to be removed once and for all.”

BSG joint secretary Dave Smith said: “We have had assurances from Unite that the entire process, from collating the evidence to writing the final report, will be carried out by senior counsel and solicitors independently from the union.

“This is essential and we applaud the union for committing to such a transparent investigation.

“We encourage any blacklisted worker who has concerns or evidence of possible union collusion to engage with this investigation, or contact BSG directly.”  

A Unite spokesperson said: “Unite is proud of its record of taking on the construction companies guilty of blacklisting and securing compensation for the victims who had their lives ruined by this evil act.

“We should be clear that blacklisting is a crime of employers. However, Unite has always committed to transparency should anyone have evidence of any collusion between legacy union officials and employers.

“This ongoing commitment will see us review all documents that are in the public domain, listen to the accounts of individuals and ask people to come forward with any evidence they want considered.”

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