Monday, August 17, 2009

Dave Smith – “Blacklisting safety reps kills people. Full Stop”.

"It creates an atmosphere where workers are afraid to raise safety concerns because they're scared they will lose their jobs. So even when everyone on the site knows that the bosses are cutting corners to save money, people just keeps their head down. The result is the worst fatality rate of any industry in the UK”.

Building union UCATT safety rep Dave Smith telling us as it is about his victimisation as a trade union safety rep on building sites and how this kills people. Dave was blacklisted as a trade unionist by the now infamous “Consulting Association” who unlawfully held records on Dave and thousands of other union activists. The recent £5,000 fine on the owner of this site who earned hundreds of thousands over the years from selling this information to building companies is just plainly ridiculous.

Dave was sacked several times by building companies and also often refused work. There was a 36 page dossier on Dave alone (see picture). Over 3000 construction workers were on this totally illegal employment register/blacklist. This did not stop key construction companies such as Balfour Beatty, John Mowlem Ltd, Costain UK Ltd, Laing O’Rourke, Crown House Technologies, Kier Ltd, Bam Construction and Vinci plc paying for this information and therefore becoming criminal and gangster employers. (I need to check the shareholder register on my pension fund against these names then ask our fund maangers to ask the question why and who).

Why are "only" some of them facing improvement notices when clearly they should be all punished for this deliberate and premeditated crime? Someone in each firm must have signed off and approved "Consulting Associations" contracts and invoices?

Check out this completely shocking report in “Hazards” magazine here (for once such a hyperbole description is real).

By co-incidence I have met Dave a number of times over the years and as well as being a proper top trade unionist he is also a really nice and genuine bloke. I can remember him telling me how once he handed a safety rep report about serious potentially fatal safety issues to a building site manager who didn’t even look at it but simply crumpled it up in his hands and just threw it into the bin.


Charlie Marks said...

I am reminded here of the value of the data protection act and of the information commissioner who acted to assert the rights of blacklisted workers to privacy and to be free from discrimination.

John Gray said...

Hi Charlie

True - but only a fine and a few data protection "improvment notices"? Thankfully the government will be implementing anti-blacklisting regs. Better late...

Unknown said...

John, BAM Construction did not use the blacklist. We were the only company quoted by the Guardian, who broke this story, to emphatically deny never having used the list or paid for information. Please could you amend your words. Thank you.

John Gray said...

Hi Mslattery

The Information Commission Office on this link (see also link on post)lists

Bam Construction (HBC Construction)
Bam Nuttall (Edmund Nutall Ltd)

as "subcribers"? who "used" CA?

If you think this is wrong then I suggest that you take this up with the ICO.

Charlie Marks said...

My understanding is that the ICO is keen to see the disincentives being put in place. I think this is very positive as it shows a willingess on the part of regulators to prevent breaches of the data protection laws.

My fear is that the ICO is one public body that the Tories would like to put on a bonfire of the quangos, making it much harder to stop blacklisting.