The government has issued proposals that will see blacklisting of employees because they are a member of a trade union made illegal

The main proposals are:

• to make it unlawful for organisations to refuse employment or sack individuals as a result of appearing on a blacklist;

• to make it unlawful for employment agencies to refuse to provide a service on the basis of appearing on a blacklist; and

• to enable individuals or unions to pursue compensation or solicit action against those who compile, distribute or use blacklists.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said: “Blacklisting someone because they are a member of a trade union is totally unacceptable.

“I am determined to act quickly to stamp out this despicable practice. Today’s proposals outline how we will deliver this”.

The consultation will run for a shorter than usual period of six weeks to enable legislation to be brought forward as soon as possible. Ministers plan to seek Parliamentary approval for the regulations in the autumn and implement them urgently as soon as it can thereafter.

The proposals follow the case of Ian Kerr and the Consulting Association. Many m&e contractors were found to be using a list compiled by Kerr to refuse work to potential employees because of trade union involvement.