Croydon Council is set to stop using building contractors that have blacklisted workers for their union affiliations, following Labour winning last week’s local elections, the trade magazine Building is reporting. The policy of the new council could also place Carillion, the borough’s controversial library operators, in an untenable position.
“Blacklisting came to light in 2009 when the Information Commissioners’ Office seized the database of the now infamous Consulting Association that contained the details of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits,” the magazine reports.
Tony Newman, the new leader of Croydon Council, included an undertaking in his party’s election manifesto which stated, “Any company known to have been involved in blacklisting which has not apologised to and compensated their victims and corrected such practices will not be awarded contracts by a Labour council.
“We will use our influence to work with any existing council contractors involved in these practices to ensure they own up, clean up and pay up.”
The position is expected to become council policy from next week, when the Labour group, which won 40 of the Town Hall’s 70 seats, formally takes office for the first time in Croydon since 2006.
With Croydon Council part of a £450 million joint venture CCURV urban regeneration vehicle with John Laing, the blacklister ban may have some interesting consequences.
The decision is also likely to impact the running of the borough’s public libraries, which are managed (if that’s quite the word) by Carillion, whose construction business is currently subject to two High Court challenges over their blacklisting of union members from working on their building sites.
Dave Smith, from the Blacklist Support Group, welcomed Croydon Council’s position. “Blacklisting of union members is a major human rights scandal,” Smith said.
“The Labour movement needs to respond with action, not just words. The news that Croydon Council will ban blacklisting firms from pubic contracts is a major step forward – it should be followed by every local authority in the country,” Smith said.
Richard Gillingham, the West Croydon branch secretary of the PCS union which represents many employees of the Home Office, one of the borough’s bigger employers, welcomed the new council’s stance. “Safe workplaces depend upon employees being able to report safety concerns without fear of their employers blacklisting them and depriving them of a livelihood for doing so,” Gillingham said. He called the new council policy “a powerful message to these companies that such exploitative activities will not be tolerated”.
Coming to Croydon
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, May 31
- Junction Road Big Lunch, June 1
- Stitch Pitch quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, June 2
- Croydon Tech City “summit”, June 6
- An Improvised Murder, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 7
- Old Town residents’ meeting, June 7
- Crystal Palace Transition Town annual meeting, June 11
- Old Town residents’ meeting, June 11
- Lakes Playground Action Group fun day, June 14
- Croydon Green Fair, North End, June 14
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Airport House swing dance free event, June 21
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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