UK construction workers are demanding that police step down from an investigation into a blacklist of workers used to deny employment during the building of Olympic venues, as the blacklist is believed to have originated from the police in the first place.
The Blacklist Support Group says the London Metropolitan police, through covert surveillance and data gathering, colluded with the Consulting Association to form a list that was sold to multinationals like Skanska and Sir Robert McAlpine during work on the Olympics.
“Most of the people on the blacklist are trade union members from the construction industry but there are also journalists, elected politicians, academics, lawyers and environmental activists,” the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) said in an email.
The group points out that this is a human rights issue as workers were sacked from the Olympics and others were denied employment because of the Consulting Association blacklist.
The list first came to public attention after David Clancy of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) stated, in the industrial tribunal of Dave Smith v Carillion plc in January 2012, that blacklist information could only have come from the police.
In November 2012, an allegation of a breach of the Data Protection Act was made to the Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS).
“Due to the nature of the complaint it was initially non-recorded,” a Metropolitan Police spokesman said in an email.
The BSG, through Sarah McSherry of Christian Khan solicitors, appealed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The IPCC upheld the appeal but is leaving the investigation to the DPS.
The BSG says the IPCC, as the investigation supervisor, has two options. It can lead the investigation itself with its own staff or it can allow the police’s internal DPS section to carry on investigating the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
The IPCC commented, “We are supervising an investigation that is being carried out by the MPS. As such, questions about the investigation should be sent to the force.”
The BSG is arguing that this is such a potentially serious case of corruption and human rights abuse that the Met Police should not investigate itself.
On its blog the BSG says, “Between 2008-2009 both Skanska and Sir Robert McAlpine were each invoiced in excess of £28,000 by The Consulting Association for checking names of prospective workers against the illegal blacklist.”
It says this coincides with the mass recruitment for the Olympics project and, at £2.20 per check, equates to over 25,000 workers being referenced against the blacklist by the two Olympics contractors.
Many construction workers say their lives have been severely blighted by the use of the blacklist.
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