02 May 2013

S4M-05594 Blacklisting

The Deputy Presiding Officer (John Scott): The next item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S4M-05594, in the name of Neil Findlay, on blacklisting: a Scottish and United Kingdom human rights abuse. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament notes the minutes of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) meeting of 5 December 2012; agrees with the HSE in condemning “any form of blacklisting of employees by employers for raising concerns about safety standards at work”; believes that the blacklist operated by the Consulting Association and used by numerous construction firms was an appalling human rights abuse that impacted on the lives of thousands of workers and their families across the UK; acknowledges the blacklisting map of the UK published by the GMB trade union, showing that over 300 workers in Scotland were affected, including 68 across the Lothians; understands that, since 2007, the Scottish Government and/or its agencies have awarded contracts to the following companies, which have been named by or are associated with companies named by, the Information Commissioner’s Office as subscribing to the Consulting Association: Amec Group Limited, Amey OW Limited, Amey Infrastructure Services Limited, Amey Roads (North Lanarkshire) Limited, Bailey Maintenance, Balfour Beatty Construction Limited, Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Limited, BAM Nuttall Limited, Carillion Construction, Laing O’Rourke, Morrison Construction, the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors joint venture, Skanska Construction UK Limited, Sir Robert McAlpine Limited and Norwest Holst Limited, and acknowledges calls for an inquiry into the impact of this practice on Scottish construction workers with a view to ensuring that it cannot happen in Scotland in the future.

... ... ...

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP):

Along with others, I congratulate Mr Findlay on securing time for the debate and on the powerful illustrations of abuse that he brought to us, as other members who have participated in the debate have done.

Richard Baker correctly pointed to what happened in the oil industry as well. The abuses that took place in that industry led to the formation of a new union led by Jake Molloy, which is now incorporated elsewhere.

The issue does not relate simply to construction. Blacklisting is an abuse that has travelled beyond a single industry and might exist in industries in which we, as yet, know little of it.

It is worth making a couple of points about how such practices can happen. Our constitutional situation is quite different from that which prevails in the United States for example. Amendment 6 to the US constitution states that a person shall be entitled to

“a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury ... to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his”

or her


It is clear that, in the environment that we are talking about, none of that prevails. UK companies have arrogated the right to the accusation, trial, conviction and sentencing of individuals by holding privately constituted courts, meeting in secret, denying to the accused all knowledge of the sentence, preventing access to a proper defence and not allowing any oversight or accountability in respect of public policy.

It is of course illegal to deprive someone of their liberty and property without due process of law, but it is not clear that it has been illegal to deprive people of the right to employment without due process of law.

John Wilson (Central Scotland) (SNP): Does Mr Stevenson accept that many of the allegations against the individuals who were placed on the blacklist were made by other individuals? The blacklist was kept by individuals and involved not trial by jury but trial by hearsay.

Stewart Stevenson: John Wilson helpfully makes the point for me. If there is to be an accusation made and a sanction laid, that must be done in an open and transparent way that duly causes people to end up in a position in which they are penalised. Virtually none—probably none—of the people who were blacklisted fall into that category, and John Wilson is absolutely correct.

The point is that every worker should be a safety officer. It is disgraceful that people have been placed on blacklists for trying to make their workplaces safer and for trying—as the Conservatives should recognise—to promote the interests of their employers as well as workers. We should take extreme notice of that.

I am coming to the end of my short speech. I welcome the indications from ministers that the issue will be addressed in forthcoming legislation. I point out that we are of course restricted in the powers that we have—in particular, we do not have the powers to control business organisations such as those that operated the blacklists. I hope that the Government can find a way to ensure that this never, ever happens again in Scotland.


Stewart Stevenson
does not gather, use or
retain any cookie data.

However Google who publish for us, may do.
fios ZS is a name registered in Scotland for Stewart Stevenson

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP