Unionised workers have gathered outside the Scottish Parliament to demand a ban on companies who blacklist trade union members from bidding for public-sector contracts and for their bosses to be put in prison.
• Allegations stem from a raid in 2009 that uncovered lists of unionised construction workers
• The lists compiled by The Consulting Association were sold on to building contractors.
Dozens of workers turned out for a Unite union rally chanting “no public contracts for blacklisting companies” and “blacklisting is crime - blacklisting bosses should do time”.
Their allegations stem from a 2009 raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on the offices of The Consulting Association, an organisation which compiled details of unionised construction workers which it sold on to contractors for profit.
Jim Currie, 61, an electrician from Glasgow, said his details were among the 3,213 names in the association’s files.
Speaking at the protest today, he said: “I’ve always been a trade union official of some sort, either a shop steward or a safety rep.
“I tried to make the building sites safe and comfortable, asking for more toilets and washing facilities and things like that.
“It would cost the companies more money to install these things, so their answer was to get rid of the activists and frighten the rest of the workforce.
“Over the years I have found it very hard to continue working while my non-unionised friends were getting jobs, so we have always known there was a blacklist but we couldn’t prove it until the ICO raid.
“I have had to pursue my career throughout Great Britain, working in London and spending a lot of time away from my family and two sons.
“I’ve also had to endure long spells of unemployment which obviously affects family life. I’ve spent many a Christmas with no job and no prospects.”
Rozanne Foyer, senior regional organiser at Unite, said: “We are here to demand justice for our members who have been blacklisted for decades, whose lives have been ruined, whose families have been put into poverty.
“We are also here to demand that there will be no public contracts for blacklisting companies coming out of Scotland’s purse.”
She added: “We don’t want rhetoric or sympathy, we want action, answers and accountability from these companies.
“To the Government, we say give us a public inquiry and do not give money to blacklisters until they can prove that they have they righted their wrongs.
“To the blacklisting companies our message is simple: we know who you are, where you are, we are coming after you, and we will not stop until you have stopped your immoral practices.”
Labour MSP Neil Findlay led a members’ debate on blacklisting in the Scottish Parliament today.
He said: “It’s fantastic that the guys are here as it shows the strength of feeling on this issue.
“It’s a human-rights abuse that has been going on for decades and now that the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee has managed to expose the activities of the Consulting Association and all of the major construction companies we are hopefully going to get justice.
“I would like the Scottish Government to engage with the trade unions and others who have got an interest in this issue, and I would personally like the Scottish Parliament to have an inquiry into this to find out the extent in Scotland.
“I would also like to see new guidance when the new Procurement Reform Bill comes forward so that we can ensure that this never happens again.
“We won’t know how prevalent this is in Scotland until we have an inquiry.”