Last week saw an opposition parliamentary debate on blacklisting in the construction industry which called for an immediate investigation into the extent of the practice and an assurance "that appropriate and effective sanctions are in place to tackle and prevent blacklisting."
During the debate, many passionate speeches were heard from Labour MPs, some of whom have themselves been victims, and many of whom know of constituents who have had their livelihoods snatched away from them by the practice.
With evidence coming to light that blacklisting practices have been rife in public works, including the construction of the Olympic Park, it was also argued that a Leveson-style inquiry must go ahead.
Blacklisting has been given important exposure by the Scottish Parliament and we must congratulate MSPs for their determination in forcing this issue up the political agenda.
But the practice of blacklisting is not restricted to Britain alone. The construction companies identified as participating in the blacklisting operation include household names based and operating across Europe including Skanska (Sweden), Bam (Netherlands), Vinci (France), Laing O'Rourke (Ireland), Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Kier, Costain and Carillion (Britain) to name but a few. It is important therefore that European-wide action is taken in response.
The Blacklist Support Group and Professor Keith Ewing of the Institute of Employment Rights fought hard to bring blacklisting to the attention of the EU commissioner in 2011 and there is now much work taking place at the European level with Stephen Hughes MEP and Glenis Willmott MEP taking up the issue in the European Parliament.
In the light of recent evidence and based on the information gathered in Scotland, the EU and now at Westminster, the IER believes the current blacklisting regulations now need to be strengthened in the following ways:
Last week the Institute of Employment Rights released a comprehensive resource on blacklisting which looks at the historical practice, government responses, the legal context, evidence from various investigations and case studies. To read the document visit tinyurl.com/bkmfzrq
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