Hartlepool council bans trade union discrimination

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

COUNCILLORS have unanimously agreed a motion calling for a council to terminate any existing contracts where there is evidence that workers have been discriminated against because of their trade union links.

Independent councillor Paul Thompson presented the motion – which aims to “blacklist the blacklisters” – at a meeting of Hartlepool’s full council.

It comes as some of the biggest firms in the construction industry are to compensate workers who were blacklisted from working on building sites and trade unions say thousands of people, around 3,200, on the list were denied work for years.

The blacklist was uncovered following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009.

Coun Thompson said: “A number of construction companies have been challenged about supporting the existence of, and subscribing to, construction industry ‘blacklists’, which detail covertly and potentially illegally gathered information on trade union members in the construction industry.

“This council recognises that any compilation, dissemination and use of ‘blacklists’ which is intended to discriminate against workers on the grounds of their TU membership or union activities is expressly prohibited by law and the council therefore resolves that any individual or body who engages in such practices such be prohibited from tendering for council contracts.”

The motion added: “That the council’s contract procedure rules and guide to procurement reflect this position so that no individual or body is in any doubt of the council’s intention to ensure statutory compliance and prohibit discriminatory practices.

“Further, that this council will terminate any existing contracts where such evidence of breach of such statutory compliance is proven to exist.”

Coun Thompson said: “In a nutshell, we will blacklist the blacklisters.”

Labour councillor Carl Richardson said: “I certainly welcome this motion which makes it clear where we stand.”

The motion was unanimously passed by councillors.

The raid found that dozens of construction firms had been checking potential employees against a blacklist which contained details of about 3,200 workers.

Officials say while most on it were members of unions, some had simply raised health and safety concerns on sites.