Labour and the unions have been jostling together uneasily in recent news, so it’s good to read of a Labour minister acting decisively in a way which should be welcomed by trade unionists. This is Jane Hutt, the Welsh Assembly’s Finance Minister, who has ruled that building firms involved in blacklisting won’t be allowed to bid for Welsh public sector contracts.
Blacklisting is a really invidious practice – the TUC has declared a Day of Action for 20 November, and has called for it to be made a criminal offence. Here’s one man’s experience of being blacklisted:
“I was placed on the Consulting Association’s blacklist 10 years ago by Mowlems. I was blacklisted for raising health and safety concerns and for seeking a pay increase.
“I was blacklisted for being a trade unionist. My file says I shouldn’t be employed. Once blacklisted I was turned away from work. When the industry was booming I often struggled to find work, which affected me and my family.
“But given the nasty, secretive nature of blacklisting and how recruitment operates in construction. Proving I was denied work is almost impossible.”
It would be good if Hutt’s initiative could become a UK wide policy, not just one for Wales.