Government plans to speed through regulations banning compilation and use of blacklists that victimise union members

New legislation banning the use of secret blacklists that victimise union members is to be brought in the by the government.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said the recent evidence of blacklisting in the construction industry, uncovered by the Information Commissioner, had highlighted the need for change.

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.

“There is already legal protection against the misuse of people's personal details,” Mandelson said. “We now plan to strengthen the law by introducing new regulations to outlaw the compilation, dissemination and use of blacklists in this way.”

The news follows last week's demonstration held by construction workers at the Olympic park site on 6 May. They had demanded, among other things, a ban on blacklists, and later descended on parliament to call for an early day motion to bring in legislation banning their use.

The government will launch a consultation in the early summer on revised regulations, enabling interested parties to give feedback on how the regulations can be improved.

Ministers intend to seek parliamentary approval for the regulations in the autumn and implement them urgently as soon as possible.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “It is outrageous that unscrupulous employers have been victimising trade unionists through shady blacklisting practices that have no place in a democratic society.

“I am glad that the government is now consulting speedily on this issue which will, I hope, lead to quick and effective action to outlaw this utterly unacceptable practice.”