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Archive for September 18th, 2013

Press Release
From the Office of the Mayor of Tower Hamlets

Mayor Lutfur Rahman today announced that Tower Hamlets will be the first Local Authority in the UK to pledge not to award contracts to any company found guilty of blacklisting workers.

Mayor Lutfur Rahman said:

“Tower Hamlets was the first Council to introduce the London Living Wage in 2009 and we take the welfare and well-being of working people very seriously. I am very grateful to the GMB, Unite the Union and UCATT for bringing the issue of blacklisting to the nation’s attention and I am proud to say that not only does Tower Hamlets not have any contracts with the companies accused of this practice, but that on my watch it never will.”

The practice of blacklisting workers was brought to prominence by the GMB who published a list of companies using a network of private investigators to compile databases of workers
perceived as union activists or agitators. Companies then used the clandestine database to run illegal background checks and deny work to those perceived as union activists or agitators.

Commenting on Mayor Rahman’s pledge, GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny said:

“The GMB is delighted that Tower Hamlets is the first council in Britain to run the blacklisters right out of town. Where Mayor Rahman has led, others will now surely follow and those companies guilty of blacklisting workers will get no more of the public contracts they crave until they own up, clean up and pay up for what they did to their 3,213 victims.”

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of Construction Union UCATT, said:

“Tower Hamlets has a long and proud tradition of standing up for the rights of workers. UCATT congratulates Mayor Lutfur Rahman and Tower Hamlets council on extending that tradition with this anti-blacklisting pledge. It is now incumbent on all other local authorities to follow Tower Hamlets lead and stamp blacklisting out once and for all.”

Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union said:

“Tower Hamlets is blazing a trail by becoming the first London council to stamp out blacklisting. This is a fantastic development and we commend the council for their positive action. There is a momentum growing to outlaw blacklisting. Recently the Welsh government announced that public sector bodies in Wales can exclude blacklisters from bidding for public sector contracts. The unions are also making real progress in bringing blacklisters to justice.

“We are urging other councils to take note of the Tower Hamlets decision to ban the blacklisters and to follow suit.”

“Unite and the TUC are calling on blacklisters to ‘Own Up, Clean Up and Pay Up’. Blacklisting employers should immediately stop defending legal cases on technicalities, apologise to blacklisted workers and their families and sign up with Unite specific agreements that prevent new cases of blacklisting.

“The proof of the pudding will be whether blacklisters are ready to employ workers they have discriminated against.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

The Mayor ‘s pledge on blacklisting appears below;
THE PLEDGE

Blacklisting is an unlawful practice, which unscrupulous employers use to avoid having trade unionists in the workforce.

Trade unionists have a vital role in any workforce for the very reason that blacklisting employers seek to exclude them: they stand up for workers’ rights. As a result of blacklisting, workers cannot find employment and their families suffer a terrible injustice.

We have trade unionists to thank for the 35 hour week, lunch breaks, paid sick leave and holiday pay among other conditions that we take for granted.

The council values the rights of its employees, and is against any move to curb workers’ representation.

The GMB, Unite the Union and UCATT have undertaken extremely important work in highlighting this issue on the national stage, and compiling a comprehensive list of companies that employ this disgraceful practice.

I am pleased that, having cross-referenced this list with our own list of contractors and suppliers, I can say that the council has no relationship with any of them.

And I am pleased to follow the Welsh Assembly’s lead in being the first local authority nationwide to pledge to take action against blacklisting. Under no circumstances is it acceptable for any business in receipt of our procurement expenditure to use blacklists.

For information about this press release contact Numan Hussain , Political Advisor to the Mayor , on 07508 352 023 or email numan.hussain@towerhamlets.gov.uk

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