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Blacklisted workers ‘vindicated’ after spycops inquiry acknowledges police snooped on trade unionists

BLACKLISTED workers say they have been vindicated by the public inquiry into undercover policing after it acknowledged this week that spycops had reported on trade unionists. 

The judge-led inquiry has just finished the first phase of its investigation into abuses by officers serving in a secret Scotland Yard unit between 1968 and 1982. 

Summing up the probe’s position so far on Monday, the counsel to the inquiry, David Barr KC, acknowledged that officers in the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) had reported on trade unionists and that the senior officers could have passed on that information to blacklist firms. 

He said in his closing submissions: “Trade unions and trade unionists are both mentioned in SDS reporting.

“We cannot rule out that SDS intelligence reports were leaked by Special Branch officers to private sector organisations which then used them for blacklisting purposes.”

The Blacklist Support Group (BSG), a campaign representing union members who were unlawfully blacklisted by major construction firms, has welcomed the lawyer’s comments.  

In a statement, the group said: “A few years ago, we were slated as conspiracy theorists for suggesting that undercover police infiltrated trade unions and blacklisted activists. 

“This week, the spycops public inquiry has acknowledged that it did happen. It is a massive admission by the state, brought about by our collective struggle. 

“In many ways Barr’s closing statement provides vindication for our fight.”

However Mr Barr added that there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that trade unions were specifically targeted by the SDS, which the BSG dismissed as “legalistic tautology.” 

Several officers joined trade unions during the 40 years the SDS operated. One example was Mark Jenner, who used the cover name Cassidy, who infiltrated construction union Ucatt in the 1990s. 

The Metropolitan Police has denied that trade unions were directly targeted by undercover officers. 

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