The government is to consult over new laws that would outlaw companies that use secret blacklists to assess potential employees

In March the Information Commissioner reported that 40 construction companies, including big players in the m&e world, had subscribed to a database used to vet construction workers, which has now been closed under data protection law.

Business secretary, Lord Mandelson said: “We plan to strengthen the law by introducing new regulations to outlaw the compilation, dissemination and use of blacklists in this way.”

Under the Employment Relations Act 1999, the government has the power to introduce regulations prohibiting the blacklisting of workers for their union membership or activities.

The government will launch a consultation in the early summer on revised regulations. As there has already been a consultation in 2003, this second consultation will be shorter than the usual 12 week period.