Council to block firms linked to historic blacklisting from winning work until they apologize and pay compensation to blacklisted workers


Islington council in north London has moved to block firms that took part in historic blacklisting from winning work with the council until the firms apologize and pay compensation to blacklisted workers.

Islington council’s executive last week decided to accept a recommendation by it’s policy and performance scrutiny committee not to accept bids for contracts from construction firms linked to the infamous blacklisting organization the Consulting Association (TCA) until they compensate workers that were blacklisted.

As Building revealed last year, a host of local authorities around the country have passed motions in support of a campaign run by the GMB union to avoid awarding work to firms previously involved in blacklisting “till they compensate those they damaged”.

Both the Welsh and Scottish governments have taken action to bar firms linked with blacklisting from winning public sector contracts, while last year Labour called on the UK government to take similar action.

Islington council said the decision of its executive meant the council’s contracting processes will “take proper account of participation in blacklisting activities to ensure that no organisation which participated in blacklisting and has not ‘self-cleansed’ is awarded a contract with the council”.

Firm’s that could be impacted by the decision include Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, Skanska and more than 20 others.

Blacklisting came to light in 2009 when the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a TCA database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits.

Last October eight firms - Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci - established a Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (CWCS) in a bid to resolve the dispute. Talks with unions about the scheme are ongoing.

Maria Ludkin, GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs, said “GMB welcome this kind of robust governance from local authorities. It is the only effective guarantee that blacklisting will be stamped out, and workers who were blacklisted compensated, by companies seeking public sector contracts.”