Workers were left fuming today after the "beyond satirical" decision to appoint an executive director of a firm linked to the blacklisting of trade unionists to the board of the Health and Safety Executive.
The Department of Work and Pensions this week announced the appointment of Howard Shiplee to the HSE board as a non-executive director.
Mr Shiplee is an executive director of construction firm Laing O'Rourke, one of a number of companies named by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) as having been clients of blacklisting firm the Consulting Association.
Before joining Laing O'Rourke in 2011, Mr Shiplee also held senior positions at the Olympic Delivery Authority, Amec and Carillion.
The IOC found that both Amec and Carillion were involved in the blacklisting scandal.
The DWP said Mr Shiplee "has been appointed as one of the board's employer-interest representatives."
And HSE chairwoman Judith Hackitt welcomed the appointment.
She said: "Howard will bring real hands-on experience from his role as construction director at the Olympic Delivery Authority to ensure that HSE continues to promote the legacy of outstanding health and safety performance in construction which laid the foundations for this world-class spectacle."
Dave Smith, blacklisted for his trade union activity, said a copy of a blacklisting file on him held by the Consulting Association, obtained from the ICO, showed that Laing O'Rourke was one of the major firms involved.
Mr Smith said he "nearly choked" when he heard Laing O'Rourke had a director on the HSE board.
"Laing O'Rourke has one of the worst reputations in the entire construction industry," he said.
"They are proven blacklisters of union safety reps. If the HSE board doesn't believe me, I will be happy to send it a copy of my blacklist file, where the company it has just invited into its fold is specifically identified as supplying information."
Hazards Campaign spokeswoman Hilda Palmer said: "It is almost impossible to satirise the appointment of a senior director of a construction company with a record of blacklisting union safety reps to the board of the HSE, which tasked with preventing death, injury and ill-health at work."
Ms Palmer went on to say: "Safety reps standing up for workers' safety in the notoriously dangerous construction industry have had no help from the HSE and Chris Grayling's DWP, which is hell-bent on destroying workers' health and safety protection, now rewards one of the perpetrators of blacklisting safety reps with a seat on the board and a hand in ensuring government deregulation and enforcement slashing.
"This is an outrageously cynical step by the DWP and extremely black day for workers."
Neither the DWP nor Laing O'Rourke responded to requests for comment.
If you appreciated this article then please consider donating to the Morning Star's Fighting Fund to ensure we can keep developing your paper.
Stephen Twigg has won some initial support from teaching unions NUT and NASUWT for aspects of his plans for education in England.
How high-quality primary schooling could help solve global poverty
Unison leader asks what kind of society we want our children to grow up in