Ian Kerr, the man heading up the company that compiled a blacklist of construction workers, has pleaded guilty to breaching the Data

Kerr was tried yesterday by Macclesfield Magistrates Court. He failed to attend in person.

Magistrates decided against sentencing Kerr because they said the maximum fine of £5,000 they could levy was “wholly inadequate”. The case has now been transferred to the Crown Court where Kerr could face an unlimited fine.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Union of Construction, Allied Trades, and Technicians (UCATT), described Kerr’s failure to attend as “gutless” and “showing contempt for justice.”

Ritchie added: “The magistrates’ decision should be applauded. Mr Kerr set out to ruin construction workers’ lives. He deserves the maximum possible sentence.”

Blacklisting is not currently illegal, although the Government is pledged to resolve the matter this autumn. Kerr was charged for offences under the Data Protection Act.

Ian Kerr is boss of The Consulting Association. The firm is said to have produced a blacklist of over 3000 workers.

Over 40 companies subscribed to Kerr’s list, which was discovered during an investigation by the Information Commissioner. The companies include major players in the m&e sector including N G Bailey, Haden Young, Balfour Kilpatrick and Shepherd Engineering Services.

UCATT has accused one firm, Skanska, of spending more than £28,000 on checks in 2008 alone. Skanska has promised to investigate its use of the construction blacklist and has pledged not to tolerate any form of blacklisting on its sites.