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THE Unite union is considering legal action against the Metropolitan Police after it admitted supplying information to blacklisting construction firms.
As reported in the Star yesterday, the force has confessed that officers infiltrated trade unions and spied on members to pass information to building firm bosses, after years of denying the allegations made by the Blacklist Support Group (BSG).
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin finally admitted to supplying the firms, via the infamous Consulting Association, with information on 3,200 union members after the BSG made a complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Unite is considering whether to launch a new legal cast against the Met.
The union has already started action on behalf of over 70 blacklisted members on the grounds of breach of privacy, defamation and Data Protection Act offences.
A historic High Court case in 2016 found that a total of 3,212 workers had been blacklisted by the Consulting Association.
The verdict led to hundreds of blacklisted workers receiving significant compensation from construction firms for having their livelihoods systematically disrupted and, in some cases, ruined.
But this latest admission raises serious concerns that the Met had suppressed the admission of guilt of its officers for two years until now, meaning that the relevant information wasn’t available during the 2016 court proceedings.
Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett confirmed that the latest revelations could have “potentially major implications” for future legal cases.
Fellow assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail declared the revelation a “major breakthrough.”
“The police have finally been forced to admit what we already knew — that they were knowingly and actively involved in the blacklisting of construction workers.”
Ms Cartmail called for a transparent public inquiry into blacklisting, as well as for Sir John Mitting’s inquiry into undercover policing to be opened up.
“That inquiry’s primary focus must be about exposing the abuses that undercover police were responsible for, rather than protecting the identities of the police officers involved,” she added.
BSG secretary Dave Smith has condemned police officers for providing intelligence and information to an “unlawful corporate conspiracy.”
“If it’s happening in construction, the very same thing will be happening in other sectors,” Mr Smith warned.
No officers currently face action in relation to the collusion.
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