Locks and Security News: your weekly locks and security industry newsletter
22nd January 2020 Issue no. 491
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Bid for formal investigation into security services role in blacklisting scandal
Bid for investigation into blacklisting by security services. Lawyers have launched a bid for a formal investigation into the role of the security services in the construction workers' blacklist scandal. A formal complaint has been lodged with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal - an independent judicial body which hears claims about surveillance by public bodies.
Some victims suspect special branch police officers or spies from MI5 helped the now defunct Consulting Association to compile the 3,213-name list of construction workers.
The list was used by construction firms to vet job applicants and deny employment to people for union activity or raising health and safety issues.
The GMB and construction workers' union UCATT are demanding a full public inquiry into the scandal.
The move comes just a week after the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it would oversee a formal investigation by the Metropolitan Police into allegations that police colluded in the blacklisting of consruction workers.
Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: "This is a major step forward in discovering the full truth about blacklisting and winning justice for blacklisted workers.
"As more evidence emerges about the extent of the state's involvement in blacklisting construction workers, it is essential that this investigation is followed by a full public inquiry into the vile and disgusting practice of blacklisting. Those who lives were ruined must be given the full facts."
The suspected involvement of security services in blacklisting first came to light in January 2012 when a London employment tribunal was told that "information on some of the blacklist files could only have been supplied by the police or the security services" by David Clancy head of investigations at the Information Commissioners Office.
Mr Clancy repeated the claim to MPs during a Select Committee investigation into blacklisting in the summer of 2012.
Blacklisted workers have complained that entries on some of their files include personal sensitive information that has never been in the public domain and appears to come from under-cover state surveillance or phone tapping.
Last month the Daily Mirror revealed that a secret file on 240 women environmental protesters was kept on a blacklist of construction workers, including leading female eco-warrior Tamsin Omond, 28, who was once convicted of trespassing at the Houses of Parliament during a protest against an expansion of Heathrow airport in 2008.
The Cambridge graduate told the Mirror how she has struggled to get a US visa - along with another friend who had previously travelled to America but then was barred after joining Climate Rush, an environmental action group she helped to set up.
She believes the visa problems are related to the secret surveillance of environmental protesters by special branch police and their names kept on secret files. She added: "Some of those who have been unable to get a visa have never been arrested. They just happen to be part of the same environmental group."
The existence of the list was revealed after five female environmental activists contacted the GMB union to say they were shocked to find themselves on it and had no idea why they were on the list.
Anyone who thinks they might be on the blacklist can contact the Information Commissioner's Office helpline on 0303 123 1113.
13th March 2013