GMB Calls on the Scottish affairs committee to probe how and why environmental activities were placed on construction industry blacklist
Committee should call construction industry directors addressed by a "key officer" from the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit to establish what role unit played – if any- in placing these names on the blacklist
GMB, the union for construction workers, is asking the Scottish Affairs Select Committee which is investigating blacklisting to establish how and why environmental activists were added to the construction industry blacklist. Some of these were women. The investigation should seek to establish if the police unit NETCU was involved in any way.
This arises after GMB were contacted by five women who are on the construction industry blacklist. All five confirmed that they were environmental activists. GMB is assisting them to get their files from the ICO and with an assessment of their legal claims for damages. These women are from Edinburgh, Leeds, Cornwall, Essex and the old county of Cleveland. They have no idea how they were put on the list.
The construction industry blacklist first came to light in 2009, when the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and others. The blacklist was used by 44 companies to vet new recruits to stop trade union and health and safety activists and others getting jobs. The ICO never contacted anyone on the list to let them know they were blacklisted.
In total there are 240 persons on the construction industry blacklist who have women's first names. Most have no building or construction trade listed for them. It is not known how many worked in the industry.
Of the people on the blacklist with women’s first names the most common (with numbers) are: Cath/ Catherine/Kath/Kathryn 10, Heather 8, Jo/Joanne/Jo-Anne 7, Helen 6, Sarah 6, Angela 5, Claire/Clare 5, Nicky/Nicola/Nichola 5, Barbara 4, Jenny/Jennifer 4, and Debbie/Deborah 4. Others on the list are called Alexandra, Annette, Camilla, Gabriella, Grace, Maxine, Nadine, Natasha, Rachael, Simone, Tamsin and Tania.
The women on the blacklist (with numbers) are from: Manchester 10, London unspecified 6, Birmingham 5, Cheltenham 5, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 5, Sheffield 4, Bradford 3, Bristol 3, Devon 3, Liverpool 3, Winchester 3, with two each from Brighton, Charlton Kings in Cheltenham, Esher, Faslane, Hampshire unspecified, Hull, Kingston upon Thames, Lancaster, Leicester, Prestbury, Shurdington in Cheltenham, and one person each from Andover, Anglesey, Ascot, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Breda in Holland, Burnley, Caernarfon, Caerphilly, Cambridge Cheadle, Cheshire, Chesterfield, Chichester, Colchester, Cornwall, Crewe, Cumbria, Dundee, Durham, Dursley, Edinburgh, Epsom, Exeter, Glasgow, Gloucester, Halifax,, Holmfirth, Kingsteignton in Devon, Knutsford, Lancashire, Leeds, Leckhampton, Lincoln, Littlehampton, London E5, London E8, London N1, London SE19, London SE22, London SE5, London SW12, Lowestoft, Lymm in Cheshire , Middleton, Middlesex unspecified, Milton Keynes, Milton under Wytchwood in Oxfordshire, Mobberley in Cheshire, Morecombe, North Yorkshire, Oldham, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Poulton Le Fylde, Preston, Rhondda, Richmond, Runcorn, Sale, Scarborough, Scunthorpe, South Shields, Southampton, St Helens, Stroud, Sudbury, Suffolk, Todmorden, Walsall, West Midlands unspecfied, West Sussex, Wirral, Yateley and York. See map in notes to editors and as pdf on GMB website, Last month the Times published a posthumous interview with Mr Kerr who ran the Consulting Association which mentioned a police unit. “Mr Kerr told The Times that the association had established links with the police and security services. He recounted a meeting organised by the association in 2008 when eight construction industry directors were addressed by a "key officer" from the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (Netcu), which was a Huntingdon-based police organisation set up to counter "extremist" protest groups.
"They were seeking a channel to inform construction companies [of the information] they were collecting [and] they were wanting to be able to feed it out to the companies," Mr Kerr said.
In return, the Netcu officer purportedly asked the companies to pass on their own information about potential troublemakers and Mr Kerr said that a "two-way information exchange" opened up. A police spokeswoman declined to comment” See full article in notes to editors below and some information on NETCU Maria Ludkin, GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs, "GMB has never received a satisfactory explanation from Carillion or others as to what the Consulting Association was discussing with them at the regular "security meetings" they hosted. GMB do know that Mr John Edwards represented Carillion at least once at such a meeting since Carillion confirmed this to us.
Now we find environmental campaigners on the blacklist. We are asking the Scottish Affairs Select Committee to investigate how these names got on the list. As Mr Kerr is dead the Select Committee should seek evidence from the eight construction industry directors who were addressed by a "key officer" from the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit to establish what role the unit played – if any – in placing these environmental campaigners on the blacklist."
contacts: Media - call Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or Kamaljeet Jandu 07956 237 178 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
If you can help us identify more names on the blacklist please call Phil Read at GMB on 01603 742 877 or 07840 897997 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.
GMB Map Of Blacklisted Women Workers
Notes to editors
This interview with Mr Kerr – who did in December - appeared in Times on 23rd Jan.
Billy Kenber Published at 12:01AM, January 23 2013
For more than 15 years, Ian Kerr went about his business in an office above a high street shop in a Worcestershire market town.
Behind the battered green door that guarded the premises in Droitwich, Mr Kerr filled his days fielding telephone calls, updating thousands of reference cards and clipping articles from radical left-wing publications.
Documents setting out the Consulting Association’s rules emphasise that "confidentiality is the key". Mr Kerr, its chief executive, oversaw the maintenance of the database. He argued that it wasn’t a blacklist because members received the information on potential emloyees and made a "balanced decision" of their own accord.
"In a wider sense, the service was something all construction benefited from, whether members or not, because experience has shown the ability of a very small section of this industry’s workforce to cause delays and disruption to major sites," he said.
Mr Kerr told The Times that the association had established links with the police and security services. He recounted a meeting organised by the association in 2008 when eight construction industry directors were addressed by a "key officer" from the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (Netcu), which was a Huntingdon-based police organisation set up to counter "extremist" protest groups.
"They were seeking a channel to inform construction companies [of the information] they were collecting [and] they were wanting to be able to feed it out to the companies,” Mr Kerr said.
In return, the Netcu officer purportedly asked the companies to pass on their own information about potential troublemakers and Mr Kerr said that a “two-way information exchange” opened up. A police spokeswoman declined to comment.
Mr Kerr said that codes were used to indicate those who were of interest to Special Branch — "Irish ex-Army, bad egg" was one example of this.
After the closure of the association, Mr Kerr wrote to member companies with a final invoice and asking for an additional contribution of £1,500 towards legal fees. Only two — Sir Robert McAlpine and Vinci — agreed to pay up, with others hiring lawyers who demanded proof that they were members or otherwise liable for the costs.
Skanska, Balfour Beatty and Laing O’Rourke said that the use of blacklisting databases was against company policy. Vinci and Kier Group declined to comment.
The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) was a British police organization funded by, and reporting to, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) that coordinates police action against groups in the United Kingdom it describes as extremist.
As of April 2007, it was headed by Superintendent Steve Pearl. Because the ACPO is not a public body but rather a private limited company, NETCU is exempt from freedom of information laws and other kinds of public accountability, even though they are funded by the Home Office and deploy police officers from regional forces.
"NETCU provides tactical advice and guidance on policing single-issue domestic extremism. The unit also supports companies and other organisations that are the targets of domestic extremism campaigns. NETCU reports through the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE) to the Association of Chief Police Officers Terrorism and Allied Matters - ACPO(TAM) committee."
NETCU answers to the Association of Chief Police Officers' (ACPO) Terrorism and Allied Matters Committee, and in particular to ACPO's National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism, Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Tudway. It works with the Home Office, and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit. The unit was created in or around May 2004 to coordinate police action in relation to animal rights campaigns. It is based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, which has been a focal point for animal rights activism as a result of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign.
Apart from animal rights groups, it has also investigated the UK Life League, a direct action pro-life group that protests outside abortion clinics.
In November 2010 it was announced that the three ACPO units commanded by the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism would be rebranded as the National Domestic Extremism Unit and brought under the control of the Metropolitan Police by summer 2011.
National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) – (from ACPO website)
The Chief Constables' Council, the senior decision-making body for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), ratified in January 2011 the decision for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to become the lead force for the National Coordinator for Domestic Extremism (NCDE) and the three domestic extremism police units which sit underneath it.
The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit’s role is to support others to prevent, reduce and disrupt criminal activity associated with domestic extremism and single issue campaigning.
Because domestic extremists don’t work within police force boundaries, NETCU works with police forces across the country to provide tactical advice and guidance in order to promote a co-ordinated and consistent approach to tackling domestic extremism.
Acting as a crime prevention unit, NETCU supports industry, academia and other organisations that have been or could be targeted by extremists, by raising awareness and building resilience through security advice, risk assessments and information that can help minimise disruption and keep their employees safe. NETCU also provides the Government and partners in the police service, Crown Prosecution Service and industry with collated public information about domestic extremism trends, as well as post-event incidents and crimes.
National Domestic Extremism Unit – (from ACPO website)
In January 2011 the Chief Constables' Council, the senior decision-making body for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), ratified the decision for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to become the lead force for the National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU).
The NDEU remains a national policing unit, under lead force governance arrangements and sits under the Specialist Operations business group of the MPS. It was created following a merger of the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET) and the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU).
The NDEU supports all police forces to help reduce the criminal threat from domestic extremism across the UK. It works to promote a single and co-ordinated police response by providing tactical advice to the police service alongside information and guidance to industry and government. One of the key responsibilities of the NDEU is to provide intelligence on domestic extremism and strategic public order issues in the UK. Police will always engage to facilitate peaceful protest, prevent disorder and minimise disruption to local communities. Where individuals cross over into criminality and violence, the police will act swiftly and decisively to uphold the law.