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Issue #1663      November 5, 2014

Blacklisted workers won’t back down

BRITAIN: Anti-blacklisting campaigners hit the streets of Wolverhampton last week to demand an apology from a notorious blacklister, who denied work to a pipefitter because he had given the Morning Star a quote 22 years previously.

Carillion head of employment relations Liz Keates is the target of the third day of a “Crocodile Tears Tour” of notorious blacklisting managers organised by trade union GMB, which represents construction workers among other trades.

She has been named in Parliament as a blacklister – and the database which revealed the extent of the practice in the building trade names her as complicit in blacklisting a whopping 139 workers.

In a shocking assault on freedom of expression, Keates kept an Essex-based pipefitter out of work simply because he had spoken to a journalist from the people’s paper. He was blacklisted in 1980, when the lists were being maintained by the shady Economic League and denied jobs in 1996 and 2002.

A second worker was added to the list for giving a quote to Morning Star reporter Peter Bird for the same article, and the league compiled an astonishingly detailed dossier of his activities in the Communist Party and trade union movement. When the league disbanded in 1993 its dossiers ended up in the hands of the Consulting Association, a new body set up with the help of building giant Sir Robert McAlpine.

Keates checked records on the database and refused work to 64 applicants who were union reps or considered political troublemakers.

And she was responsible for putting 75 other workers on the list while they were working for her employers Crown House Engineering, Carillion and Tarmac.

A Manchester-based electrician was blacklisted for being “mixed up with a left-wing organisation,” according to the database, and was denied work by Keates as late as 2003.

And Keates added a welder to the list for being a “main agitator” and he was subsequently denied employment twice by another firm.

GMB national officer Justin Bowden slammed blacklisters for using the “Nuremberg defence” in saying they were following orders from superiors.

“These so-called HR professionals who ran the blacklists for the construction companies knew exactly what they were doing,” he said.

Protesters congregated outside Carillion’s Birch Street HQ in the city centre. They will be joined by workers employed by a company at a part-privatised Swindon hospital, where 52 staff are taking claims for workplace horrors to an employment tribunal.

Carillion did not respond to a request for comment.

Labour MP Dave Anderson pressed David Cameron yesterday to release secret papers relating to the imprisonment of Ricky Tomlinson and five more Shrewsbury pickets “jailed and fitted up” in 1973.

Shockingly, the Prime Minister claimed he wasn’t aware of the case – one of the most high-profile scandals in trade union history.

Morning Star

Next article – China launches new World Bank rival

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