Before recess I signed up to the campaign to end blacklisting throughout Scotland, particularly in the construction trade. The campaign from Unite the Union, calls for an end to what it describes as ‘arguably the worst human rights abuse against workers since the war’.
Blacklisting is the termination of workers employment for issues that are not directly related to their performance. Once sacked these names are added to a central list for potential employers to check against.
The practice of blacklisting is extremely serious and should be stopped. Failure to do so should see companies that engage in the practices barred from tendering for public procured contacts in Scotland.
A recent ICO investigation as confirmed that over 40 British construction companies have actively participated in the practice. The ICO investigation shows that blacklisting is taking place in Scotland. A public inquiry into the scandal would insure that there is no chance of a cover up and that any company that is involved takes responsibility for their actions.
Workers may have found themselves added to the list due to working at a site where industrial action has taken place or for having raised legitimate health and safety concerns. Workers should be free to work without fear that their rights will be attacked and their future employment jeopardised. Highlighting legitimate health and safety concerns is not a crime and workers who do so should not be treated like criminals.
Workers that have been blacklisted have found themselves out of their jobs and in some cases unable to gain further employment. A full investigation would ensure that those who have been blacklisted receive the compensation that they deserve.
The Scottish Government can take action to tackle blacklisting, particularly through tendering for new contracts. It is important that they listen to concerns of workers from across the country and deliver on Unite the Union’s pledge to end blacklisting in Scotland.