Sunday, 29 January 2012

Blacklisted agency worker loses appeal

Via Cautiously Pessimistic, I've come across this particularly worrying piece of news from the Blacklist Support Group;
The construction giant Carillion has admitted a construction worker was blacklisted because of his trade union activities and efforts to improve site safety, but has escaped responsibility because he was an agency worker. The revelation came during an employment tribunal last week brought against the firm by engineer and former UCATT safety rep Dave Smith. It ruled the construction firm could not be held liable because agency workers do not enjoy the same legal protection as directly employed staff.
This not only underlines the fact that workers are being blacklisted for their trade union activity, it also goes a long way to show that the law is reluctant to do anything about it. Even after hundreds to thousands of pounds in legal fees to get someone whose life has been ruined by the process to a tribunal in the first place.

It really cannot be overstated how much this campaign needs much wider support and publicity. Not only in pursuing the court cases, but in direct action as well. We know the firms which are engaging in the blacklisting of workers, and they should face pickets and other actions from those who support the right of workers to organise. But we know that this action won't come from unions - who've themselves colluded in blacklisting - and that the Blacklist Support Group only has finite resources.

A mass campaign is needed on this issue, and it should really be the one that militant workers never shut up about. Especially as the economy goes on another downturn, raising the prospect of more redunancies and more industrial conflict, that any employer can get away with this is a threat to all workers. Solidarity to all blacklisted comrades in the continuing fight.