Parliamentary debate may result in bar for m&e companies embroiled in blacklist scandal

A Labour MP has secured a Parliamentary debate in order to urge ministers to ban contractors embroiled in the construction blacklisting scandal from public works.

Michael Clapham, MP for Barnsley West and Penistone, recommended that the most enthusiastic contributors to the Consulting Association’s blacklist, which collected data on employees including union activity, should not be considered for public contracts.

In Parliament last week, Harriet Harman, leader of the Commons, said: “No trade union health and safety representative should find that, as a result of speaking up on behalf of their colleagues, they are on a blacklist and are never able to work again. The Government is totally opposed to that, and wants to make sure that there is most effective enforcement when that happens.”

In an adjournment debate scheduled for 23 March, Clapham will urge ministers from the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to go further.

Clapham, a member of the Trade and Industry Parliamentary Select Committee, referred to the activity as ‘despicable’ and added: “I will be urging the ministers who are involved to think about the companies who they could be employing. Work in the future should be given to someone else.”

The government had intended to make blacklisting illegal as part of the 1999 Employment Relations Act, but as Clapham confirmed, the regulations where never introduced on the grounds that the Government believed that blacklisting no longer existed.

The Information Commissioner’s Office is currently taking phone calls from employees who believe they are on the blacklist.