New rules brought in to stop discrimination against trade union members

It is now officially unlawful for trade union members to be denied employment through blacklists, under regulations that came into effect yesterday.

The government introduced the rules to prevent employers from blacklisting workers for their trade union membership, after evidence was uncovered last March that a number of employers in the construction sector had been unlawfully vetting workers.

The move follows public consultation on the subject.

Employment relations minister Lord Young said: "The new regulations outlaw the compilation, dissemination and use of blacklists. They have been designed to build on existing protections in the area, which are found in trade union and data protection law. Good employers who operate fair and open vetting processes have nothing to fear from these regulations.

He added: "I am confident that this new piece of legislation will bring to an end the disreputable practice of blacklisting once and for all."

The regulations:

• make it unlawful for organisations to refuse employment or sack individuals as a result of appearing on a blacklist;

• make it unlawful for employment agencies to refuse to provide a service on the basis of an individual appearing on a blacklist; and • enable individuals or unions to pursue compensation or solicit action against those who compile, distribute or use blacklists.