Blacklist Support Group: 2012 – a year in blacklisting


Electricians take industrial action in Scotland, Wales, North East, North West and London to make blacklisting a central issue of the ongoing BESNA dispute.

Reel News release Blacklisted 2012 video

Smith v Carillion Employment Tribunal – 400 pages of unredacted documents come into the public domain after being used as evidence in the court case. The company provide a written statement admitting that their managers supplied the information on the blacklist file because of union activity and for raising safety concerns. ICO admit in evidence that “information on some blacklist files could only have been supplied by the police or the security services”. Carillion win the Tribunal because worker was employed via an agency and not directly employed by the blacklisting firms.

First ever joint legal meeting to discuss blacklisting arranged by the Blacklist Support Group takes place at Old Square Chambers co-chaired by Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC – over 20 QCs, barristers and solicitors discuss High Court, European Court of Human Rights and Employment Tribunal strategies.



John McDonnell MP demands a public inquiry into blacklisting following evidence about security services involvement.

Professor Charles Woolfson announces he was blacklisted for raising concerns about safety issues in the North Sea after the Piper Alpha disaster.

Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors start High Court proceedings on behalf of blacklisted workers by issuing pre-action letters

300 electricians carrying “End the Blacklist” banners blockade Park Lane rush-hour traffic outside ECA awards dinner as part of the increasingly hostile sparks dispute. Ken Livingstone (speaker at the event) tells the crowd that blacklisting firms should not be granted publicly funded contracts. The very next day lead blacklisting firm Balfour Beatty withdraw from BESNA. Electricians now target blacklisting firm NG Bailey at Morrison supermarkets across the UK.  A few days later the entire BESNA proposals collapse – Victory to the sparks!!


The Observer newspaper runs front page lead article on police link to blacklist. Steve Hedley (RMT Assistant General Secretary) is featured in 3-page spread.

Blacklisting appears across the press including Radio 2 Jeremy Vine phone-in plus media coverage in the USA, Russia and Australia.

John McDonnell MP and Michael Meacher MP both raise the call for a public inquiry with Home Secretary, Teresa May.  

Tony Jones blacklisting Employment Tribunal takes place in Manchester against Carillion and their recruitment agency SkyBlueCrown House, Emcor, Phoenix and the employment agency Beaver Management. Steve Acheson blacklisting claim ET against Data Dimension takes place on the same day in the courtroom next door. Both cases are supported by UNITE the Union.

Blacklist Support Group holds meetings in Manchester and Westminster parliament. 

Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors submit papers for High Court claim against blacklisting firms. 

David Cameron forced to respond to John McDonnell MP questioning about blacklisting at Prime Minister’s Questions.


Glenis Willmott MEP (Labour leader in Europe) raises issue of blacklisting in written question to European Commission.

Judge Brain written decision throws out Tony Jones ET case for being “out of time” as the blacklisting incidents took place many years ago (even though evidence only came to light once the blacklist files were released). 

Carillion under fire from GMB at Swindon Hospital as Liz Keates, head of Human Resources and part of the cover-up of bullying, racism and corruption charges by 100 low-paid Goan NHS staff is outed as a blacklister of union members.


Scottish Affairs Select Committee chaired by Ian Davidson MP launches parliamentary investigation into blacklisting at Westminster – Maria Fyfe MP is first witness with historical examples from the campaign against the Economic League in the 1980s.

UCATT Conference passes motion on blacklisting calling for a public inquiry and tougher laws. Roy Bentham, Steve Acheson and Tony O’Brien speak about blacklisting at Construction Safety Campaign and Justice for Shrewsbury Pickets fringe meetings. 

600 construction workers walk out at Ratcliffe Power Station in Nottingham in solidarity with Jason Poulter, victimised safety rep and leading UNITE activist during the BESNA dispute. Jason Poulter is reinstated the next day!!


GMB Conference launches a major report “BLACKLISTING – illegal corporate bullying endemic, systemic and deep-rooted in Carillion and other companies” and passes a motion on blacklisting calling for a public inquiry and blacklisting firms to be stripped of publicly funded contracts.  Swindon strikers and Blacklist Support Group speak at official fringe meeting.

Steve Acheson moves successful motion at UNITE Conference calling for industrial action, a public inquiry and Day of Action against blacklisting. Steve Kelly, Steve Acheson and Dave Smith speak at fringe meetings. 

National Shop Steward Network conference runs a workshop on blacklisting.

Stewart Merchant, Francie Graham and Dave Smith give evidence at Scottish Affairs Select Committee. 10 Directors and senior managers who participated in blacklisting named and shamed. Press coverage includes Private Eye, The Mirror, The Guardian

Trade Union Coordinating Group of MPs Tollpuddle event in parliament featured blacklisting with Bob Crow, John Hendy QC, Ian Murray MP and Dennis Skinner.


Tommy Sheridan MSP announces that the Consulting Association spied on him for 14 years when he was an elected politician in Scotland.

Official complaint made to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) for an investigation into blacklisting by their members in the construction industry in breach of the professional body’s new Code of Conduct.

Tollpuddle Festival saw Blacklist Support Group banner marching alongside the Swindon strikers and BSG speakers at fringe stage alongside barrister David Renton.

European Commission announces that blacklisting of safety reps will be part of a review of safety taking place in the European parliament. 

Senior journalist and NEC member of NUJ announces that she has a blacklist file compiled by the Consulting Association. 

High Court claim against Sir Robert McAlpine is formally lodged. The Observer newspaper run major article with a Comment piece by Nick Cohen. Press speculate that the entire claim if all blacklisted workers were involved could reach £600m.

Union News produce DVD with lessons of the Sparks dispute video (blacklisting included).


Jim Sheridan MP calls for blacklisting firms to be barred from publicly funded projects as he joins Colin Trousdale, Willie Black and other blacklisted workers protesting outside Balfour Beatty Engineering Services HQ in Glasgow against the victimisation of UNITE union activist Stewart Hume. 

Human Rights campaign group Liberty calls on the Information Commissioner’s Office to re-open its inquiry into blacklisting.

Howard Shiplee of blacklisting firm Laing O’Rourke is appointed to the Board of the Health & Safety Executive.

Spanish press pick up blacklisting story.

Drew Smith MSP (Labour) and Christina McKelvie MSP (SNP) raise blacklisting in Scottish parliament. 


Gail Cartmail (UNITE) and Justin Bowden & Harry Donaldson (GMB) give evidence at Select Committee investigation and stick the boot into Balfour Beatty and Carillion as examples of continuing blacklisting.

TUC Congress unanimously passes motion calling for a public inquiry and national Day of Action on blacklisting. GMB, UNITE, TSSA, UCATT speak in the debate. Blacklist Support Group speaks at TUC fringe meetings alongside Frances O’Grady.

Workers at Grangemouth Oil Refinery in Scotland threaten strike action over ongoing blacklisting and Stewart Hume is miraculously reinstated by Balfour Beatty!!

Crossrail mass picket barricades site entrance after 28 UNITE members are dismissed when their electrical firm has its contract cut short 3 years early in a blatant attempt to blacklist union steward Frank Morris after reps raised safety concerns. The BFK consortium building Crossrail (largest construction project in Europe) includes BAM and Kier – both proven blacklisters.


GMB organise blacklist protest at Carillion trade stall at Labour Party Conference. 

Blacklisting protesters close Tottenham Court Road and Moorgate during rush hour as part of ongoing Crossrail dispute.  Protesters occupy the Office of Rail Regulator (public body responsible for rail safety) after HSE halt production on site following major gantry collapse on Crossrail site where safety reps have been blacklisted. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office gave evidence at the Select Committee and admit that they had only seized 5-10% of the documents held by the Consulting Association. 

Financial Times run major story on blacklisting.

Steve Rotheram MP puts down an Early Day Motion 609 calling for a Leveson style public inquiry into blacklisting

Richard Howson – Carillion Chief Executive – under pressure, issues a carefully worded statement to the Select Committee denying any involvement in blacklist except by a small subsidiary, Crown House which stopped in 2006. Blacklist Support Group and GMB refute the claims.

Steve Murphy (UCATT Gen Sec) & Jim Kennedy (UCATT) give evidence to the Select Committee, exposing Sir Robert McAlpine and Skanska for blacklisting on the Olympics stadium and media centre. McAlpine alone were being invoiced for 65 name checks a day during the mass recruitment stage of the project.


Christian Khan solicitors working on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group submit a formal complaint to the IPCC about police collusion with blacklisting.

Blacklisting meeting takes place at STUC in Glasgow.

The release of unredacted documents for the High Court claim identify a number of union officials as the source of information on the blacklist files. Blacklisted workers including Brian Higgins and Michael Anderson demand an investigation. 

Alan Wainwright – ex-Carillion director turned whistleblower gives evidence to the Select Committee and names 12 Directors and senior managers in Carillion Group personally involved in blacklisting. Sheila Knight ex-Assistant Director of ACAS is named as blacklisting union members who worked on the Jubilee Line Extension.

ICO admit returning the Consulting Association seized computer without even turning it on.

Oxford Street closed by protesters in support of unite steward Frank Morris blacklisted by Crossrail as part of the November 14 EU wide union day of action. 

Blacklist Support Group short-listed for Human Rights Campaign of the Year at the Liberty Awards ceremony. 

Paul Kenny (GMB Gen Sec) sends letter to every labour Councillor in the UK asking them to support campaign to bar blacklisting firms from public contracts. Local Authorities across the country vote to support the campaign.

Ian Kerr – chief executive of the Consulting Association and convicted blacklister gives 4 hours of unrepentant evidence at the Select Committee. Names dozens of senior executives and admits that major blacklisting took place on the Olympics and Crossrail project. Sir Robert McAlpine paid his County Court fine! Agrees to supply a full written statement naming all those senior managers that attended blacklisting meetings.  

Ron Baron, head of industrial relations at Crossrail is sacked following Ian Kerr evidence and Building Magazine article exposing him as a serial blacklister having been named in previous Employment Tribunal judgements. UNITE demand an investigation into blacklisting on Crossrail.


Seamus Milne writes major article in The Guardian calling for a Leveson style public inquiry.

Shami Chakrabarti compares blacklisting to phone hacking on Andrew Marr TV show.

Health & Safety Executive issue a statement against blacklisting of safety reps following request by Paul Kenny.  

Ian Kerr – chief executive of the Consulting Association dies. 

Crossrail worker suffers 70% burns following explosion – site is closed for safety reasons. Protesters close down Horseferry Road outside the Department of Transport demanding action over safety and blacklisting on Crossrail.  Boris Johnson announces plan to investigate safety issues on Crossrail. 

Steve Acheson reaches 5th year protesting outside Fiddlers Ferry Power Station near Warrington following his dismissal from site because of the blacklist.


The fight for justice continues

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