Blacklisting of workers condemned

Coun Richard McCauley
Coun Richard McCauley

UNANIMOUS support was given to a motion calling for an end to the blacklisting of construction workers at last week’s full council meeting.

Councillor Richard McCauley (pictured) called for the council chamber’s support in condemning the blacklisting of construction workers – many of whom, he said, were unaware that they were even on a 3,500-strong blacklist.

He added that many of the employees who were blacklisted had been singled out for their involvement with trade unions.

Coun McCauley, who asked the council to pledge its support to a national anti blacklisting campaign, said: “I was a union rep for many years and to hear that some major UK companies are spying on workers and blacklisting those backed by trade unions is totally wrong.

“This practice will have affected many people in this town. It’s the construction industry’s equivalent of the News of the World phone hacking scandal in the world of newspapers and it’s creating enforced joblessness.”

Fellow Labour councillors Seve Gomez-Aspron and Terry Shields also spoke up in support of the motion.

Coun Gomez-Aspron said: “Blacklisting is a secretive, malicious and immoral act which is stopping people from getting work in the construction industry.

“It discriminates against every level of union membership and many workers are forced to change profession or move abroad for work.”

Coun Shields, a former union steward at United Glass, added: “I was on a blacklist for two years and I didn’t even know until I went for a job one day and was informed that I had been blacklisted.

“At the time, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t being shortlisted for jobs.”

Local Lib Dem leader Stephanie Topping also gave the motion her suppor, adding: “We are quite happy to support this motion. Our party is totally opposed to blacklisting.”

It’s unfair and is not making the jobs market any easier for anybody.”

The motion was given unanimous, all-party support.