Direct employment in construction key to stamping out blacklisting

19 May 2014

The Scottish Affairs Committee has published a further interim report on blacklisting, with the UK, Welsh and Scottish Government responses to its previous report.

Recommendations from previous report

The Committee’s previous report recommended a package of measures aimed at making reparations for past blacklisting and eradicating it in the future, including:

  • A process of self-cleaning and paying compensation by companies known to have taken part in blacklisting before they can be considered for further public contracts
  • Ensuring that the compensation scheme is developed in consultation with representatives of all the affected workers  and making greater efforts to identify all those affected  
  •  Moving toward more direct employment and transparent recruitment, and reducing the use of agency workers

Committee Chair comments on the Government's response

Ian Davidson, Chair of the Committee, said:

“We are very disappointed that the Government has rejected our recommendation for direct employment on all publically funded construction projects and for transparent recruitment and employment practices – even though they have asked us to take more evidence.

What we have seen shows clearly that the use of agency workers is a ‘weak spot’ in eradicating blacklisting, and we therefore recommended that direct employment and transparent recruitment practices should be standard for all public sector contracts in the construction industry.

This concern has been vindicated with the recent allegations from UCATT and Danish Television DR1 that an international employment agency that operates in the UK has been blacklisting employees, using a secret register to prevent workers who complain about pay or who join a trade union getting further work.

I will be asking the Committee to look at these new revelations with a view to further hearings. The Committee will also shortly be reviewing the process of negotiations, between the companies already found guilty of blacklisting and representatives of their workforces, to ensure that both sides are giving the need for a fair and commensurate settlement the urgency it deserves."

Further information

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