LABOUR’S promised blacklisting inquiry could expose the “full sordid details” of a “human rights conspiracy,” campaigners said yesterday.
Speaking at the TUC Congress last week, Labour shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna told delegates he would lead a public inquiry into the blacklisting of workers in construction.
The building trade has been rocked by scandal in recent years after it emerged that more than 40 construction giants had colluded with police to draw up secret lists of trade union activists.
Mr Umunna told Congress: “I’m proud to say we will do what this government has refused to — launch a full inquiry, held publicly, into the inexcusable blacklisting of workers in the construction sector.
“If I am given the privilege of serving as business secretary in the next Labour government we will deliver justice to those workers who lost their livelihoods and end blacklisting for once and for all.”
Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith welcomed the news.
“We applaud Labour’s pledge for a full inquiry for blacklisted workers,” he said.
“Every stone needs to be turned to expose the full sordid details of this human-rights conspiracy.
“We will continue to push for a full public inquiry to hear evidence under oath from those workers affected plus the directors of multinational construction firms and undercover police officers responsible for this national scandal.”
The development came as the GMB union blasted SNP and Tory councillors in Dundee for awarding a contract to a firm that has failed to compensate aggrieved workers.
A contract to build a major new museum has been awarded to BAM Construction, which blacklisted 582 workers in Scotland, including 21 from Dundee.
After Labour councillor Richard McCready moved that BAM should not be awarded the contract, SNP members voted with Tories in favour of the construction giant.
Campaigners slammed the SNP for hypocrisy — as recent guidance from Scotland’s SNP government says blacklisters should be excluded from public contracts until they had demonstrated appropriate “remedial action.”
GMB Scotland secretary Harry Donaldson said: “Public money should not go to companies like BAM that have engaged in blacklisting till they have purged their guilt.
“This was real test of what a separate Scotland would be like — a socially just one or one which takes the side of big business.”