ONE of the leaders of an anti-blacklisting campaign was found guilty but discharged in court yesterday after blocking London traffic during a protest.
Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist Support Group and co-author of tell-all book Blacklisted, was at the City of London magistrates’ court for disrupting traffic in Park Lane in March last year.
The construction companies Mr Smith has helped expose were forced last month to apologise and cough up millions in compensation to workers targeted by blacklisting firm the Consulting Association, managed by Ian Kerr.
Commenting on the irony of his conviction, Mr Smith said that, since the scandal erupted, “only two people have ever been convicted because of their involvement with blacklisting — Ian Kerr and me.”
Outside the court, he also thanked his legal team and his supporters, adding: “I am blessed to have such good friends and comrades.”
Mr Smith has not been fined but the offence will be held on his record for the next six months.
The verdict was issued on the same day that senior Green Party politicians came out in support of calls for a public inquiry into the practice of blacklisting trade unionists and campaigners.
Outgoing Green leader Natalie Bennett and party stalwart Baroness Jenny Jones added their voices to demands an inquiry into the scandal.
Ms Bennett said: “The time has come for a public inquiry into the shameful practice of blacklisting. It’s vital that those who were discriminated against, and the public, gain an understanding of how this information on suspected trade unionists was collected and how it was shared with prospective employers.”
Baroness Jones added that companies caught using blacklisting should not be left with the responsibility for ridding the industry of the practice.
“That’s why Parliament must step up and kick-start a public inquiry into blacklisting,” she said.
“I’m also urging any worker who was discriminated in this way to speak to me about their experiences. I’ll do all that I can to take this forward in the Lords.”