A rigorous examination of blacklisting cannot be tacked onto a party political inquiry set up to help the Conservative Party bash unions, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady will tell a lobby of Parliament held as part of the TUC’s day of action against blacklisting later today (Wednesday):
“Blacklisting is real. It has ruined thousands of lives. Families are still suffering because a worker joined a union or raised a health and safety issue.
“We need a full inquiry into its scope. It must have the legal power to call witnesses, seize records and put employers on the spot. Companies guilty of blacklisting should be barred from public contracts until they can demonstrate that they understand the basics of human rights and good industrial relations.
“Blacklisting cannot be tacked onto the government inquiry set up purely to devise laws to limit union campaigning. The inquiry is a cheap electoral stunt set up in response to a non-existent problem, a taxpayer-funded initiative devised to generate a union-bashing headline or two for the Conservative election campaign. Everyone knows that we already have the most restrictive laws on unions in any advanced democracy.
“Blacklisting is too serious an issue to be trusted to this inquiry on the off-chance it has a spare five minutes after it has carried out its party-political purpose. Blacklisted workers can have no confidence in an inquiry chaired by a barrister well-known for acting for employers and set up with no consultation with blacklisted workers or their unions.
“I recognise that some ministers are embarrassed by this bogus inquiry. But belated attempts to make the process appear fair are doomed. You cannot have an inquiry that is balanced between a made-up party political scare tactic and investigating a real attack on thousands of workers.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Protests against blacklisting are being held today around the UK, and the TUC – along with construction unions GMB, UCATT and Unite – is holding a lobby of Parliament to call for justice for the construction workers who were illegally targeted because of their union activities or for pushing for better health and safety on building sites.
- There will be a rally in Westminster on Old College Green from 1pm. Speakers will include Frances O’Grady, GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny, UCATT General Secretary Steve Murphy, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP along with blacklisted workers.
- There will be a photo opportunity at 1.15pm on Old College Green with Frances and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman MP, union leaders and blacklisted workers. If you would like to attend contact the TUC press office on 020 7467 1248. If you are unable to attend but would like images from the rally after the event again please contact the press office.
- The TUC’s campaign plan can be downloaded from www.tuc.org.uk/campaignplan
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Issued: 20 November, 2013