An electrician blacklisted from the construction industry won the right yesterday to take his case to a full tribunal.
Steve Kelly, one of over 3,000 workers whose data was found on an illegal blacklist run by disgraced firm The Consulting Association, believes he was targeted because of his trade union activism.
The existence of the blacklist came to light last year after the Information Commissioner's Office raided the offices of the organisation, run by Ian Kerr.
Officers discovered a database with details of over 3,000 workers and a list of over 40 construction firms which subscribed to the database allegedly so that they could root out trade unionists.
This week at a preliminary tribunal in east London Mr Kelly won the right to bring a case to full tribunal against electrical sub-contractors ECS.
Mr Kelly argues that he was employed by the firm in 2007 but was sacked within days, allegedly for poor work.
However after obtaining his file from the ICO he discovered documentation which he believes shows that either the firm, which was a sub-contractor for Sir Robert McAlpine, or McAlpine's itself dismissed him due to his trade union activities.
Both firms have denied the allegation, although McAlpine's is known to have subscribed to Kerr's blacklist.
Mr Kelly also believes that his being blacklisted cost him a number of other jobs in the industry.
He told the Star of the impact this had on both himself and others. "You end up not being able to get work. Financially that is a massive burden, on your family and on your quality of life. Your wife and children not being able to have the normal things in life, like going on holiday."
Kelly applied for a number of jobs but either was not taken on or was sacked.
"I didn't get any work for a year and was forced to go into another industry.
"But I was more fortunate than some, I've heard of people who lost their homes, their families, marriages split up. I know of five former workmates who have committed suicide since, primarily because they couldn't get work."
Kelly was one of 12 shop stewards on the Jubilee Line project. When that job finished in 2000 he could find no other work in the industry.
In 2007 he once more attempted to gain employment in construction, and this time was initially successful but was then sacked from six different jobs in six months.
The reason for this became starkly apparent, he believes, once he obtained his blacklist file.
"My only aim was to earn a living and improve health and safety conditions for myself and my workmates but I've been treated like a criminal. I've been robbed of the trade I decided to go into as a 16-year-old," he said.
Mr Kelly is being represented by legal firm Thompsons, which also represents a number of other alleged victims of blacklisting. The tribunal is scheduled for April next year.
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