THE government is once again washing its hands of responsibility for ending the blacklisting of workers, Unite warned yesterday.
Despite MPs calling for blacklisting firms to be banned from public-sector contracts, the government is still refusing to act.
Business Minister Margot James told SNP MP Chris Stephens it was up to individual councils to decide.
That latest refusal comes after Unite helped another of its members win reinstatement after being blacklisted for raising health and safety concerns.
The Unite member witnessed a near-miss when a steel frame was almost dropped from a tower crane while he was employed on a construction project in London by subcontractor Metalyapi, a Turkish company.
After leaving the job, he applied and was accepted for work with a different company on the same project. But having been given a start date and induction, he was then told there was no position for him.
When Unite spoke to the company, it was told the worker was not wanted as he “cost the contractor a lot of money.”
When the union made it clear that this was illegal and it would pursue a legal case, the worker was reinstated — and is now expected to be recruited on future projects.
Unite says it is seeing other cases where subcontractors and agencies illegally share information on workers who have raised employment or safety concerns.
Assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “This latest case demonstrates that blacklisting hasn’t disappeared, but it is now taking a different form and highlights why we need proper rules to stamp out blacklisting once and for all.”
The union warned that the industry would never resolve safety problems while blacklisting is allowed to continue.
Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group said the practice was “alive and well” in many sectors, including the NHS, as well as construction.
He said: “Even with new evidence, it’s not a surprise that the Tory government doesn’t want to open up an investigation by their friends in big business. The minister’s decision simply demonstrates the urgent need for a swiftly called public inquiry.”