Ucatt believes health and safety representatives in particular have lost work because of blacklisting

Harriet Harman, the leader of the House of Commons, has pledged to end the “scurrilous activity” of blacklisting.

Harman, who is also deputy leader of the Labour party, pledged to work with Ucatt and the Information Commissioner's Office to end the use of blacklists, as part of a response to a question, asked in parliament today.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Ucatt, said: “I am pleased that the government is committed to outlawing blacklists. It will be the first step in the fight for justice for our members who have been discriminated against and denied work purely because of their trade union activities.”

Ucatt said it believed health and safety representatives had been a particular target of blacklisting. Many safety representatives have reportedly been being laid off or are finding it difficult to secure work after highlighting unsafe sites and dangerous working practices.

The union said it feared that this had affected site safety. Last year 72 workers were killed on construction sites.

The 1999 Employment Relations Act included provisions to make blacklisting illegal but these provisions have never been enacted into law. Ucatt has written to the business and enterprise department demanding that blacklists now be made illegal.

The campaign for the government to outlaw blacklisting has already won the strong support of MPs. More than 70 MPs have already signed an Early Day Motion demanding that the laws on blacklisting which are already in place should be enacted immediately.