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Tower Hamlets council cuts off blacklisting firms

Tower Hamlets becomes the first council in Britain to cut off blacklisting firms

Tower Hamlets yesterday became the first council in Britain to issue an anti-blacklisting pledge and vow to cut off public cash to firms who use the practice.

Mayor Luftah Rahman's pledge comes in response to the blacklisting of over 3,000 construction workers for trade union activity.

A secret list used by over 40 of Britain's best-known construction firms was uncovered in a raid on the clandestine Consulting Association's offices in 2009.

The GMB, Unite and Ucatt unions have turned the tables by compiling a comprehensive list of blacklisters.

Last week Welsh government Finance Minister Jane Hutt blazed a trail against blacklisters by telling public bodies not to give them contracts.

Mr Rahman's pledge paid tribute to unions' "vital role in any workforce" and promised action against "any move to curb workers' representation."

He said: "I am proud to say that not only does Tower Hamlets not have any contracts with the companies accused of this practice, but that on my watch it never will.

"Tower Hamlets was the first council to introduce the London Living Wage in 2009 and we take the welfare and well-being of working people very seriously."

The pledge has won praise from union leaders who hope to see it repeated in other local authorities and public bodies.

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said he was "delighted that Tower Hamlets is the first council in Britain to run the blacklisters right out of town."

"Those companies guilty of blacklisting workers will get no more of the public contracts they crave until they own up, clean up and pay up for what they did to their 3,213 victims," he said.

Unite leader Len McCluskey added: "This is a fantastic development and we commend the council for their positive action.

"We are urging other councils to take note of the Tower Hamlets decision to ban the blacklisters and to follow suit."

The TUC is holding a day of action against blacklisting on November 20.


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