TUC pushes for full public inquiry into blacklisting scandal
POLICE tried to recruit a building worker to spy on trade union activities last year, trade unionists heard yesterday.
The revelation came as TUC Congress unanimously resolved to call for a full public inquiry into blacklisting and raised concerns that an existing inquiry into police spying would exclude unions.
Construction union Ucatt delegate and blacklisted worker Bill Parry vowed to hold “blacklisting bastards” in the construction industry to account in forthcoming legal cases.
He said that a member in Garston, Merseyside, had been approached by approached by police “to work for them.”
Mr Parry said that the building worker, who has not been named, received a letter asking him to report to a police station for a meeting.
When he did so, he was allegedly told by a police officer: “We know you’ve been active in the trade union movement. We know you’ve been involved politically for some time.”
He was then asked: “Would you like to work for us?”
Merseyside Police did not respond to a request for comment.
The building trade’s use of blacklisting came to prominence in 2009, when government inspectors uncovered a database of workers held by right-wing bosses’ club the Consulting Association.
Campaigners say police passed details of their targets onto business contacts who then added them to industry blacklists, making blacklisting highly relevant to the scope of the new inquiry into undercover policing.
Lord Justice Pitchford is set to investigate the use of covert surveillance tactics, including police officers’ use of long-term relationships with social justice campaigners to infiltrate political groups.
General union GMB delegate John McDonnell cited “regular meetings” involving both construction industry figures and senior policemen.
Slamming police officers who took part in unethical tactics, he said: “They are scumbags, every one of them.”
Media union NUJ delegate Anita Halpin said that her husband Kevin had been blacklisted in the 1960s.
She highlighted the cases of NUJ members, including comedian Mark Thomas and photographer Jess Hurd, who had been subjected to police monitoring while going about their work.
“Journalists are not a new form of home-grown terrorism,” she said.