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 Post subject: Guardian: Blacklisted building workers hope for day in ...
PostPosted: Sun, 04 Mar 2012 14:54:53 +0000 
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012 ... sfeed=true

Blacklisted building workers hope for day in court after ruling

The Consulting Association, a shadowy organisation that compiled a list of 'troublemakers' — with the help of the security services — for Britain's biggest building companies was closed four years ago. Only now can its 3,200 victims go to court and hope to win

* Daniel Boffey
* guardian.co.uk, Saturday 3 March 2012 21.02 GMT

...

But the testimony of David Clancy, investigations manager at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), giving evidence in the court, was clear. Clancy told the tribunal he believed that some of the information in the files used to blacklist workers "could only be supplied by the police or the security services".

...

Reading a report of the development in the Guardian the next day was a member of staff of the Information Commissioner's Office. Within a year, the blacklist was no more. The ICO raided a first-floor office in the Worcestershire town of Droitwich. Officials took away the entire contents of a database suspected to contain the blacklist, as well as invoices from companies in the construction industry that were paying Ian Kerr, the 66-year-old keeper of the data.

There they found a database of some 3,200 names, as well as invoices showing that 44 construction firms, including some of the UK's biggest, had used the services of a clandestine organisation called the Consulting Association. The list of subscribers was packed with household names, including Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Costain and Skanska Construction, although there have been no findings against them.

The information held on the individuals was kept in card files and ranged from personal descriptions of the people blacklisted, their families and relationships. Then there were undercover observations of union meetings, left-wing newspaper cuttings and, of course, a smattering of pieces of intelligence that are now believed to have been supplied from either police or MI5 records.

...

Additional reporting: Phil Chamberlain
THE VICTIM

Signal technician Steve Hedley, from East Ham, is one of those whose name was in the Consulting Association's files. In 2004, Hedley, 43, was working on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link when his employer accused him of theft. The claim was subsequently retracted, but he was told there was no more work on site. A few weeks later he was taken on by a different company working on the project, then sacked within days without explanation. It was the start of four years without permanent employment. In what is thought to be police-sourced intelligence, he was named in the files as having been "apprehended/observed on way to demonstrate against BNP laying wreath at Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday". The last entry in his 18-page file, which comprised mainly cuttings from the Morning Star and other leftwing publications, states that he had been elected as an RMT union organiser. Other notes describe his disapproval of new Labour, among other things.

...


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