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Blacklist By Trade

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Electricians top trade on construction industry blacklist as GMB shows breakdown by occupation.

Carillion in court in London today (26th February) for blacklisting Essex construction worker who seeks remedy for harm he suffered at their hands GMB, the union for construction workers, has disclosed the breakdown by occupation of workers on construction industry blacklist. This covers 1,864 (58%) where the occupation is known for the total of 3,213 on the blacklist.

Earlier this month GMB disclosed that some on the list are green activists who have not worked in construction industry. GMB is asking if the security services were involved in them being put on the list. GMB also revealed that at least 240 on the list are women. A national newspaper has revealed that green activist Tamsin Omond is on the blacklist.

Of 1,864 people on the list there are: 529 electricians (28.4%), 240 labourers (12.9%), 211 joiners/carpenters (11.3%), 174 pipe fitters/laggers (9.3%), 141 platers, erectors and other metal workers (7.6%), 105 bricklayers (5.6%), 99 welders (5.3%), 96 scaffolders (5.2%), 66 banksman/ riggers (3.5%), 63 others (3.4%). 33 miners/ tunnellers (1.8%), 31 plumbers (1.7%), 25 fitters (1.3%), 21 drivers/crane drivers (1.1%), 17 plasterers/painters (0.9%) and 13 engineers (0.7%).The occupation for 1,349 people on the list is not known.

This disclosure co-incides with the hearing at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in London today (26th Feb) on Carillion’s involvement in the construction industry blacklist as EAT hears an appeal from Essex engineer Dave Smith who was blacklisted by Carillion. See notes to editors below for EAT details and for statement by Dave Smith.

Carillion's involvement with blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists. Mr Smith took a case against Carillion to an Employment Tribunal in London in January 2012. In the judgment in March 2012 (Case no 1310709/2009) the judge said "It seems to us that he has suffered a genuine injustice and we greatly regret that the law provides him with no remedy". This was because he lost the case on the technical point that he was not directly employed by Carillion who blacklisted him but was "employed" by an employment agency. The appeal arises from this case.

ICO confirmed that Dave Smith was one of 224 construction workers from around the UK who were victims of blacklisting by Carillion. These names were released in the course of the Dave Smith’s employment tribunal.

The 224 people blacklisted by Carillion were either based in or tried to obtain work in the following areas ( with numbers in the area listed in brackets): Barnsley (1), Birkenhead (2), Blackburn (5), Brentwood (1), Bristol (1), Caernarfon (2), Canvey Island in Essex (1), Chatham in Kent (3), Cheshire (1), Chester (1), Cleator Moor in Cumbria (1), Clwyd (5), Croydon (1), Derby (1), Dundee (1), Edinburgh (2), Ellesmere Port (3), Essex (1), Folkestone (1), Gateshead (1), Glasgow (1), Gravesend (1), Grimsby (1), Hartlepool (2), Hillingdon (1), Irvine (1), Isle of Man (10), Kent (58), Kirkby (1), Leeds (2), Liverpool (14), Livingston (3), Llandudno (1), London (39), Lowestoft (1), Manchester (13), Merseyside (5), Mold (1), North Wales (1), Oldham (1), Plymouth (1), Rayleigh (1), Romford (2), Rotherham (4), Scunthorpe (1), Sheffield (1), Sherburn in Elmet in North Yorkshire (1), Stanford-le-Hope in Essex (2), Sunderland (1), Surrey (1), Thatcham in Berkshire (1), Uxbridge (3), Warrington (1), West Wickham (1), Wirral (5) and Woodbridge in Suffolk (1).

See GMB report "BLACKLISTING - illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies" which is available on the GMB website at http://www.gmb.org.uk/.

There is evidence from the Information Commissioner that Carillion involvement with the Consulting Association blacklist included parts of their organization such as Crown House, Schal International, SkyBlue Employment Agency, Tarmac and John Mowlem as well as Carillion itself. The following Carrillion managers were named at the Scottish Affairs Committee as being involved in the operation of the blacklist: Frank Duggan: group personnel director for Carillion plc; Kevin Gorman: former human resources manager for Carillion’s Crown House division; Liz Keates: head of human resouces at Carillion; Sandy Palmer: NCS and Dave Aspinall: NCS (Carillion’s in-house employment agency); John Ball: head of human resources at Carillion; Roger Robinson and Brian Tock: two managing directors of Crown House. John Edwards from Carillion is identified as attending Consulting Association meetings in 2008. Blacklisting by Carillion was not something rare. GMB estimates that in one quarter that Carillion checked 2,776 names with the Consulting Association and in the period from October 1999 to April 2004 it estimates that Carillion checked at least 14,724 names. This makes it one of the bigger users. By autumn 2012 only 194 of the 3,213 people on the blacklist knew that they were on the list as these had contacted the ICO directly. Dave Smith was one of them and he took his claim to an employment tribunal. Last month GMB published a map showing where in GB 2,554 lived or worked. 90% still do not know they are on the list.

After GMB representation ICO finally agreed to supply names, date of birth, trade and town to enable a check against membership records to find members on the blacklist. GMB found nearly 200 exact matches and the union is working with these members to get their files from ICO. Leigh Day is preparing litigation to get them compensation at no cost to these GMB members.

Information supplied by Carillion, and the firms that it took over, continued to be used for blacklisting till the data base was shut down by ICO in 2009. Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said "The scandal of blacklisting now widens to include gross abuses of human rights and basic freedoms. Some of those on the blacklist never worked in the construction industry so who put them on it and why?

This demands a thorough judicial enquiry with the full glare of publicity. All those involved need to be brought to account and forced to apologise and compensate those they damaged. Not a single company has done so yet.

Carillion is being dragged through the courts again today because its directors refuse to face up to, and settle, liabilities that don’t go away just because they changed the names of their firms who blacklisted workers like Dave Smith for decades."

End

Contact Dave Smith 07882 579 452 re case.

For GMB: to identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on 01603 742 877 or 07840 897997 or email him p.read20@ntlworld.com . Call Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to editors

1) details of the EAT hearing:

From 12 noon Tuesday 26th Feb 2013, Employment Appeal Tribunal, Audit House, 58 Victoria Embankment, London EC4Y 0DS

The Case Reference is: D.R. Smith v (1) Carillion, (2) Carillion (JM) Ltd. (3) Schal International Management Ltd.

2) Statement by Dave Smith in advance of the EAT hearing.

Dave Smith said "Carillion are a multi-national corporation and seem to think they are above the law but they are not.

I have not had an apology or one penny compensation from this company who kept me out of work costing me and my family hundreds of thousands in lost wages and I want justice from the courts

I am saying my human rights were violated as I was repeatedly dismissed and refused work once my name appeared on the illegal Consulting Association blacklist after I had raised concerns about asbestos, poor toilet facilities and contaminated waste on London and Essex building sites controlled by companies in the Carillion Group.

I discovered that I was on the construction blacklist for being a member of a trade union. My blacklist file runs to 36 pages and includes my name, address, date of birth, NI number, car registration full works history, photographs and copies of my safety reps accreditation with the Schal office stamp on it.

My legal representative will argue that my case should be allowed to continue to the next stage of the legal process because the original ET the decision is in violation of the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights - Article 8 (the right to privacy) and Article 11 (the right to freedom of association). Human rights are supposed to apply to "everyone" but in UK employment law, apparently the original tribunal decided that they only apply to direct employees. My legal team is arguing that existing UK law should be interpreted in such a way as to uphold human rights and therefore the tribunal should extend the legal protection to all "workers" and not just direct employees.

I am taking this claim to highlight a major human rights scandal and to get justice for me and my family. Honest trade union members were blacklisted for nothing more than raising concerns about safety issues or unpaid wages. It is not illegal to be a member of a trade union - but it is illegal for big business to systematically breach an individual’s human rights.

For many years Carillion played an active role in this secret conspiracy that MPs have described as a "National Scandal"

Blacklisted workers will continue to expose Carillion and the other blacklisting firms until we get the justice we deserve."

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