CONSTRUCTION workers yesterday backed a major campaign drive for a full public inquiry into blacklisting.
Ucatt vowed to continue its campaign against blacklisters until such an inquiry has been launched, every blacklisted worker has been compensated and the practice is criminalised.
Legal action by the construction union is already under way against both companies and individuals, with 46 cases currently before the High Court and more to come.
The cases are being fought on the grounds of misuse of private information and breach of confidence laws. Employment rights lawyer at OH Parsons Ellie Reeves, on behalf of Ucatt’s blacklisted workers, explains more compensation could be awarded through privacy claims as it is easier to prove the distress caused by blacklisting than loss of earnings.
She said: “I have seen marriages broken down and workers who are unable to see their children grow up because they are forced to work abroad.”
Ms Reeves also highlighted the difficulty of claims under the Data Protection Act as blacklisting is a historic practice that predates the law, which was introduced in 1998.
The Consulting Association’s blacklisting of thousands of, mainly, construction workers by 44 companies was uncovered in March 2009 following a raid by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
But four years after the raid the ICO has admitted possessing evidence of a second blacklist.
Conference demanded that all companies and organisations involved in the practice must be “named and shamed,” highlighting that still no company has yet had the honour to “own up, pay up and clean up.”
Warrington delegate Jamie Bramwell said it was “disgraceful” that the ICO has still not informed every person named on the blacklist and must do so urgently.
Paul Torrance, Scotland branch, said that it is vital the union fights to outlaw blacklisting.
The union agreed to resource an industrial strategy against the anti-union practices of construction companies that victimise union members.
Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy lambasted eight of the largest blacklisting companies for launching their own “counterfeit” compensation scheme, which the union does not recognise.
He vowed to expose the “lies behind the PR stunt” designed to clear their name by buying off victims for a few thousand pounds.