Answers needed as blacklisting conspiracy deepens

Construction union UCATT have renewed their call for a full public inquiry into construction blacklisting.

UCATT made their call after a newspaper recently reported that all police “special branches” may have been actively involved in construction blacklisting. It is also understood that the security services were involved in providing information to the blacklisters about construction workers.

UCATT understands that a senior blacklister had a military background and could have acted as conduit between the military, security forces and the police, in placing workers on the blacklist and in supplying further material on workers who were already on the blacklist.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “Everyone who has suffered because of the blacklist needs to know how the state was involved in blacklisting and how exactly highly sensitive information came to be placed on the files of blacklisted victims. This can only be achieved through a full public inquiry.”

It has also come to light that the Information Commissioners Office have been holding the information on what appears to be a separate non-Consulting Association blacklist of construction workers.

As well as the “new blacklist”, there were also several additional Consulting Association blacklists which were not an integrated part of the main blacklist, including one of environmental activists.

In November 2012 when Ian Kerr the former head of the Consulting Association gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee, he told the committee under oath, that he was aware of other groups and individuals involved in the blacklisting of construction workers.

Mr Murphy added: “UCATT has been warning since 2009 that the Consulting Association was not operating the only blacklist in construction. It now appears that the ICO knew this to be the case all along and yet only now have they revealed the details of a separate blacklist.”

When the ICO Deputy Director David Smith gave evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee in October 2012, he stunned the committee by admitting that the ICO had only confiscated 5% of the files available when they raid the Consulting Association in February 2012. The remaining files were then destroyed by Mr Kerr.

Mr Murphy further added: “Serious questions must be asked of the ICO into their failure to reveal the full details of the blacklisting scandal at a far earlier date. It would be a serious error of judgement if the Government continued to rely on the ICO to investigate blacklisting.”

 

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