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Council bans contracts with firms blacklisting 2012 Olympic site workers

PUBLISHED: 18:05 28 January 2013 | UPDATED: 18:18 28 January 2013

A move to stop Town Hall bosses dishing out lucrative contracts to companies involved in illegally blacklisting construction workers has been unanimously agreed by one of the 2012 Olympic ‘host’ boroughs in east London.

It follows the practice first uncovered in Parliament linked to the Olympic construction, coupled with concerns raised by the London Assembly.

Some 3,200 trade-union members were blacklisted by 44 companies who vetted recruits in 2007, last Wednesday’s meeting of Tower Hamlets council was told. Only 200 of them ever found out.

Labour’s motion to ban Tower Hamlets giving contracts to companies that have engaged in blacklisting which haven’t paid compensation to workers received all-party support at the council meeting.

Many companies have refused to “say sorry and pay up”, councillors were told.

Labour Group Leader Joshua Peck said: “Blacklisting is an abhorrent and illegal practice that destroys lives.

“Many workers will have been denied jobs for supporting health and safety or for union membership.”

The move follows a London Assembly decision the week before over blacklisting on the Olympics site.

The Assembly’s budget chairman John Biggs, whose East London constituency includes the Olympics Park, won a vote making sure the practice of “blacklisting” on the £15 billion Crossrail project now under construction “won’t be tolerated.”

But the Consulting Association which operated the blacklist in 2007 when Olympic job applicants were checked was closed down in 2009 after being raided by the Information Commissioner—a year before Crossrail’s first major contracts.

The Ucatt construction union has since called for a full investigation into Olympics blacklisting after evidence to the Commons Scottish Affairs Select committee in November.

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