UCATT exposes infiltration by the police

Construction union UCATT have exposed how the union was infiltrated by the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). The revelation creates fresh questions about the police’s role in the blacklisting of trade unionists and their covert manipulation of working class organisations.

UCATT’s membership records show that Mark Cassidy was a member of UCATT from 1996 until 1998. He lived in Hackney East London, paid by Direct Debit and claimed to be a joiner.

Mark Cassidy has been revealed to be police officer Mark Jenner a member of the SDS. During his time undercover he was involved in several Left-wing organisations and took leadership roles in organisations associated with UCATT.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “UCATT was infiltrated by the police and members have a right to know why. This sort of operation could only have been sanctioned at the highest level. I believe the truth rests with the Home Office. Who gave authority for the police to do this and how high did it go?”

On the 2nd December 2014 UCATT made a Freedom of Information Request to the Metropolitan Police which asked:
1. Was there a policy of infiltration of trades unions conducted by the Special Demonstration Squad?
2. Did any member of the Special Demonstration Squad hold trade union membership?
3. Did any member of the Special Demonstration Squad ever hold membership of construction union UCATT?

The deadline for a response to the FOI was due at the end of December but was delayed until the end of January and was again further delayed. On February 20th the Metropolitan Police said that they were not “required to confirm or deny whether or not the information requested is held”. The Metropolitan Police cited six areas of why they could not reveal the information including national security.

There is clear evidence that the police colluded with the Consulting Association. David Clancy, investigations manager at the Information Commissioners Office (which conducted the raid on the Consulting Association, has said: “There is information on the Consulting Association files that I believe could only be supplied by the police or the security services.
“The information was so specific and it contained in effect operational information that wouldn't have formed anything other than a police record.”

Despite this statement and the discovery of minutes which show that Gordon Mills the Detective Chief Inspector of National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) gave a presentation to the Consulting Association in 2008, the Metropolitan Police still deny any involvement with blacklisting.

UCATT made an FOI request to the Metropolitan Police about NECTU, last autumn, which requested the following information:
1. Did the National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) meet with representatives of the construction blacklisting organisation the Consulting Association (CA)?
2. If meetings did occur on what dates, in what venues and who was in attendance?
3. To provide copies of all minutes and notes of all meetings between the NETCU and the CA?

The Metropolitan Police initially, and after a further appeal, replied: “searches failed to locate any information relevant to your request, therefore, the information you have requested is not held by the MPS.”

Mr Murphy added: “Public money was spent on police covertly joining trade unions, infiltrating groups associated with trade unions and colluding with construction employers to blacklist workers. This is a scandal that must be exposed.”

Mr Murphy also said: “The Metropolitan Police must not be allowed to hide the truth; they operated a secret organisation that destroyed innocent people’s lives. They must be held to account.
 “It is increasingly clear that the only way we are going to get the full truth on the blacklisting scandal is by holding a full public inquiry which is open and transparent.”

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