The Unite union is “stepping up” its search for information on the possible collusion of trade union officials in blacklisting construction workers.
Unite set up an independent inquiry into the issue last year. It has instructed a legal team to investigate whether any officials from Unite or its predecessor unions were involved in the large-scale blacklisting of workers which emerged in 2009.
The union says this inquiry is now entering its next stage, with an online portal launched for people to submit relevant information.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said “no stone will be left unturned” in determining whether union officials were involved.
“Blacklisting is a disgusting practice which ruins workers’ lives,” she said. “Unite has been and continues to be at the forefront of stamping out this practice once and for all. That is why the inquiry into any collusion between union officials and blacklisters is so critical.”
In 2009 a major blacklisting ring was uncovered, centred on Consulting Association, an organisation which had maintained a database of construction workers who were active trade union members or had raised health and safety concerns.
Following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office more than 3,000 workers were found to have been on the association’s blacklist. Some of the victims suspected that trade union officials may have supplied information about them.
In March, former Crossrail worker Daniel Collins said he was fired and blacklisted after highlighting health and safety issues, claiming there was “a culture of hostility” towards trade union activists in construction.
Collins launched legal proceedings against Crossrail, Skanska, Costain, T Clarke and NG Bailey over his alleged blacklisting. The case was settled out of court in December 2021.