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Thursday 14th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

Unite: McAlpine ‘refuses to give evidence’

BLACKLISTED workers have been snubbed by the blacklisting conspiracy’s alleged “mastermind” Cullum McAlpine, who is refusing to give evidence in court about the scandal.

His decision not to attend the High Court was condemned by construction union Unite yesterday as “a further gross insult” to the thousands of building workers who were denied employment because of the conspiracy.

His family’s company, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, has denied that he is refusing to testify, but Unite produced evidence suggesting the contrary. The union revealed a letter from his solicitors stating categorically: “We will not be calling him to be cross-examined.”

Mr McAlpine, son of former Conservative Party deputy chairman Sir Robert McAlpine, was for three years chairman of the Consulting Association, which supplied Britain’s biggest construction firms with the names of trade union activists and workers who had raised questions about health and safety.

As a result, 3,213 building workers were denied jobs.

The illegal blacklisting was exposed when government officers raided the Consulting Association offices in 2009.

Trade unions are suing the companies involved to win damages for victims. The High Court will start hearing the case next month.

Unite director of legal services Howard Beckett said: “Despite last October’s unprecedented admission of guilt by construction firms involved in blacklisting, those that masterminded this campaign of blacklisting are still twisting and turning to avoid appearing in court where the media and public will be present.

“It is Unite’s belief that Cullum McAlpine, as founder chairman, was the key architect in the operation of the Consulting Association until it was raided by the Information Commissioner in 2009.

“The fact that he is refusing to give evidence to help bring closure for the suffering that our members and their families have endured is shaming.

“You judge the character of a person if they are prepared to stand up and defend their actions in open court — you don’t skulk in the legal twilight protected by a platoon of expensive City lawyers.

“Unite says loud and clear to Cullum McAlpine: turn up and give evidence or expect your dispute with us to go on long after this litigation has concluded.”

Unite is supporting claims from almost 300 construction workers for compensation for the loss of years of income due to their blacklisting.

The claims have been filed against Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty Engineering Services and more than 30 other firms.

Sir Robert McAlpine’s office said: “Cullum McAlpine has not refused to give evidence in court — the claimants have never requested his evidence.

“Mr McAlpine has already appeared before the Scottish affairs committee in 2013, where he provided information and answered questions from the committee on the setting-up and operation of the Consulting Association.”