Regulations would make it illegal for trade union members to be denied employment through secret blacklisting

A new consultation has been launched to outlaw the blacklisting of workers for trade union activity.

The business department launched the consultation today, looking at new regulations that would make it unlawful for trade union members to be denied employment through secret blacklists.

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

The consultation is due to run for a shorter time than the usual period of six weeks in a bid to enable legislation to be brought forward as soon as possible.

The department said ministers planned to seek parliamentary approval for the regulations in the autumn, and would implement them urgently as soon as possible thereafter.

Construction union Ucatt welcomed the news, but general secretary Alan Ritchie said he was disappointed “the consultation document failed to recommend any compensation for existing victims of blacklists”.