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Blacklisting - Ian Kerr comes clean

So now we have it from the horse's mouth. Ian Kerr of The Counsulting Association has given evidence to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee that 'Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and possibly Skanska' had used his services to run blacklisting checks on workers employed on the Olympic Park.

Construction Enquirer reports that Kerr claimed McAlpine had helped set up his blacklisting operation with a £10,000 loan and had paid his fine when he was convicted in 2009 of breaching data protection laws. McAlpine did not dispute the statement but simply asserted that The Construction Association was 'established by a large group of construction companies'. Balfour Beatty claimed some of the points raised by Mr Kerr were 'new to us'.

Earlier in November Dennis Hone had said the ODA was unaware of any blacklisting on the Olympic site. He said in evidence to the Select Committee: “The ODA did not receive any evidence or could find any evidence of blacklisting on the Olympic Park during the construction phase or otherwise." He went on to claim that: “At that time there was a discussion with our contractors and we requested evidence from people making the allegations and no evidence was forthcoming. If it had been then we would have gone after the contractors involved."

This is certainly strange as the allegations were made public and it should have been easy enough to check them. But then apparently the ODA's idea of an investigation was to ask the blacklisters if they were blacklisting! Hone went on to say: “We have [categorical] statements from those involved at the time that there were no such practices going on. So [we had a] lack of evidence and [categorical] assurances from the contractors." The evidence, however, was always available as UCATT managed to uncover a spike in payments by Sir Robert McAlpine to The Consulting Association in the period July to September 2008.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, has called for a public inquiry into the blacklisting scandal while Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group declared: “It has taken years of campaigning to get Ian Kerr to spill the beans in public. I have a message for the supposedly respectable directors of multi-national construction firms, police officers and corrupt union officials who were all part of this conspiracy – get a good lawyer, because we're coming after you next.”

Steve Murphy said the evidence suggested “taxpayers’ money meant to be spent on the building of the Olympic Stadium was instead spent on blacklisting construction workers.”

Probably logged under human resources.


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Blacklisting is the scandal that now demands action

Seamus Milne writes about the growing scandal of blacklisting - deserves an inquiry of its own.