Building developments in the city

Assembly blacklists the practice of blacklisting

02 December 2015

The London Assembly today criticised the blacklisting of construction staff for raising health and safety concerns.

It also called on the Mayor to emphasise to all functional bodies that every employee must be protected if they raise health and safety concerns.

Andrew Dismore AM, who proposed the motion said:

“It’s absolutely abhorrent that for years construction workers and their families had their livelihoods destroyed by the disdainful practice of blacklisting.

With the Kier Group a founder member of the Consulting Association, which was responsible for ruining people’s chances of employment on the basis of their personal relationships, employment history and trade union membership, it’s deeply concerning they are involved in the construction and maintenance of 9 new fire stations in London.

With many of those who were blacklisted trade unionists, it falls to the Mayor to make sure that no organisation under his jurisdiction ever allows any employee to be blacklisted because they’ve legitimately raised concerns about the health, safety and well-being of workers.”

 

The full text of the Motion is:

“This Assembly rejects the shameful, decades-old practice of blacklisting that has in the UK construction industry, ruined the lives of thousands of workers and their families[1]. The wide scale nature of blacklisting was illustrated by the Information Commissioner’s 2009 raid on the offices of the notorious Consulting Association, which uncovered a blacklist containing the names of thousands of construction workers.[2]

Over thirty large construction companies used the Consulting Association database, which contained information about construction workers’ personal relationships, trade union activity, and employment history.[3]

This Assembly notes that most of the workers on the blacklist of the Consulting Association were trade unionists, many of them blacklisted for raising legitimate health and safety concerns with their employer.

This Assembly is therefore concerned to learn that Kier Group – a founder member of the Consulting Association[4] – is involved in the building, development, and maintenance of the nine PFI fire stations that are being constructed across London. This is especially disappointing, given the Mayor’s categorical statement in 2013 that:

“I do not condone or tolerate the blacklisting of workers, whether for raising health and safety concerns or for any other reason.”[5]

This Assembly is determined that blacklisting should never occur again and calls on the Mayor to emphasise to all functional bodies that every employee must be protected in raising health and safety concerns and their fundamental right to trade union membership without the fear of reprisals be upheld; and calls on LFEPA to examine whether its internal procurement processes and/or commercial law allows it to exclude contractors that have been implicated in the practice of blacklisting, such as Kier Group.”

Notes to editors

  1. Nigel Morris, Thousands of workers 'blacklisted' over political views, Independent, 06.08.12
  2. Ibid.
  3. Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain, On the blacklist: how did the UK’s top building firms get secret information on their workers?, The Guardian, 27.02.15.
  4. Scottish Affairs Committee (2013), Ninth Report - Blacklisting in Employment: Interim Report.
  5. Mayor of London’s response to 16 January 2013 Plenary motion on blacklisting, 05.03.13
  6. The motion was agreed by 11 votes for, to 4 against.
  7. The full webcast will be available shortly.
  8. Andrew Dismore AM who proposed the motion is available for interviews. Please see contact details below. 
  9. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Ash Singleton on 020 7983 5769.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.