• Following an investigation in 2009 it was found that over half of the large construction companies in the UK had been purchasing and using a blacklist, allegedly containing individuals’ details such as trade union membership, political affiliations and those who had highlighted health and safety issues, before contracting them to projects.

    Kent companies, tradesmen and anyone else who feels they may have been adversely affected by the so-called blacklist could have a difficult time proving their livelihoods were affected by being on the list. Construction, employment and human rights issues will need consideration before anyone can start a case for compensation and this could take years.

    The intention of the list was to identify people considered to be potentially ‘troublesome’ employees. It was run by the Consulting Association, an organisation which had a number of large construction firms as members, and access to the list was available for a fee of £3,000 per year and a further £2.20 for each particular check.

    This operation was shut down and many construction companies were fined, in some cases very significant amounts for using this service and some large firms, such as Sir Robert McAlpine Limited, are still involved in High Court cases in connection with allegations of wrongdoing. There now appears to be evidence that the Consulting Association was also running a separate blacklist of environmental activists, in a bid to identify people who may have disrupted major development projects.

    There are also allegations that the police and security services have provided information for these blacklists. Pressure is mounting for a full government investigation into this practice, which may have led to a significant number of people in the UK being unable to secure employment in the construction industry, which, due to the economic situation in the UK has proved difficult for even the most skilled workers.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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