Monday, 28 October 2013

ICO LETTER TO THE SCOTTISH AFFAIRS COMMITTEE (Updated)

Let's clear up the speculation following this letter from David Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the ICO to Ian Davidson, Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee.

ICO LETTER  

First stop is a look at how Blacklist Support Group spokesperson, Dave Smith and the people he's feeding information to are reporting this.

Fact: The Blacklist Support Group do not represent or speak for all blacklisted workers as they try to aver. Only 400 of the 3,200 blacklisted workers are currently aware they have a blacklist file, of which approximately 100 are represented by Guney Clark Ryan and a similar number by the GMB union.

Dave Smith - Blacklist Support Group

"The Information Commissioners Office has confirmed that they hold documents relating to another blacklist in the construction industry. The confirmation comes in a letter to Ian Davidson MP, chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting from ICO Deputy Commissioner David Smith (attached)."

"The possible existence of this new blacklist (separate to the Consulting Association blacklist currently in the news) was originally raised by whistleblower Alan Wainwright during evidence to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in November 2012".

"The ICO seem to be suddenly remembering lots of things they haven't mentioned before in the press or to MP's".

Chloe Stothart - Construction News

"Second construction blacklist revealed by data watchdog".

"The Information Commissioner's office has confirmed that there was a second construction industry blacklist believed to cover 500 construction workers".

Will Hurst - Building Magazine

"Watchdog confirms second industry blacklist".

"The existence of a second construction industry blacklist, understood to contain as many as 500 names, has been confirmed by the industry watchdog".

The Facts

1. My tribunal witness statement.

I'm not sure if the ICO are referring to my witness statement from 2006 for my own tribunal or my witness statement for the 'Acheson & Others v Logic Controls Ltd' tribunal from January 2007.

Either way there is nothing new here, as both have been in the public domain since 2006/2007.

Also published on this website in March 2009.

2. Faxes to and from Haden Young (from Haden Young Tamworth to Haden Young Watford).

Nothing new here too, as these have also been in the public domain since 2006.

They have also been in the possession of senior trade union officials and the General Secretary of Amicus/Unite since 2005/2006 and Bernard Carter at the Business Department since January 2007.  

Also published on this website in March 2009.

3. A list of nine contact names and addresses of what appear to be individual managers within different construction companies.

I don't have a copy of this information, so cannot comment.

4. A small sample of names and national insurance numbers of individual construction workers (Pfizer, Royal Opera House and Jubilee Line).

Again nothing new here. 

The full list was first published on my first website in 2006. Also provided to senior trade union officials and the General Secretary at Amicus/Unite in 2005/2006, and Bernard Carter at the Business Department in January 2007.

Also published on this website in March 2009.

Summary

This information is not a new blacklist and was not originally raised by me in my evidence to the select committee on November 2012. 

It was originally raised by me as far back as 2005/2006 with senior trade union officials and the then General Secretary of Amicus/Unite, but they buried this.

It was originally raised by me as part of my evidence to my tribunal in November 2006, where Directors from Haden Young lied under oath.

It was originally raised by me in January 2007 with Bernard Carter, the most senior civil servant in the country responsible for protecting trade union rights.

The 500 List

What we do now know about this list of 500 workers from the Pfizer, Royal Opera House and Jubilee Line projects is that some of these workers made it onto The Consulting Association database.

According to Sheila Knight, Ian Coates joined Emcor Drake & Scull from Haden Young after I left and managed their relationship with the Consulting Association.

To the best of my knowledge, Frank Morris was not one of these workers who made it from the '500 list' onto the CA database.

You can read all about Frank and Crossrail on this website here:

FRANK MORRIS & THE BLACKLISTING 

CROSSRAIL & THE BLACKLISTING 

So my advice for what it's worth is beware of idiots running around shouting "new blacklist", "new blacklist" to whoever will listen.

The covert blacklisting of construction workers would most certainly still be prevalent in the UK construction industry had David Clancy at the ICO not acted on my evidence in August 2008 and I simply cannot understand the motives of some of the people who are trying to discredit him.

As David Smith from the ICO states in his letter. "This is not information that we seized from the Consulting Association. Rather it is the information that we provided to the court to support our application for a no notice search warrant for access to the premises of Haden Young Ltd in August 2008".

It was this evidence that enabled the ICO to locate and shut down Ian Kerr and the Consulting Association. 

Deluded Fantasy

In addition to the many exaggerated claims made by Dave Smith and others from the BSG over the last few years, another founder member of the Blacklist Support Group, Michael Dooley is posting on the Facebook page today (29 October 2013) that he has a list of 400 names, addresses and full details of activities of sparks who worked on the Royal Opera House, Jubilee Line and Pfizers projects.

He says Rob Evans from The Guardian put him onto it and that he's sure he downloaded it from this website.

Pure deluded fantasy.

I'd love to see this, which would possibly represent a 'new blacklist'. I've spoken to Dooley on numerous occasions and even met up with him, but on each occasion he's made claims and promised to send me supporting evidence but nothing has ever transpired.

And herein lies the danger when you have a small group of people like this making exaggerated claims purporting to represent a group of people who are as yet, largely unidentified.

On a final note, I recently stated to Chloe Stothart that I don't talk to journalists. This is not true. I've provided information to many journalists, including Anna Meisel for her Radio 4 programme and Claire Burnett for her Panorama film. 

What I should have said is that I don't talk to journalists who have absolutely no interest in reporting the true facts in this scandal.

It's all on this website.


FOI & SAR RESPONSE

The Business Department did respond to my requests on 24 October 2013 and I'll need some time to evaluate everything as there's quite a lot to get through.

One word sums up an initial brief look through this:

Disturbing 

I'd be happy to discuss FOI requests 13/0549 and 13/0550 with the applicants if they would like to make themselves known.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

MY STORY

I would suggest those reading this blog for the first time read this interview with The Guardian to get an overview of the issue.

GUARDIAN WHISTLEBLOWING INTERVIEW

Friday, 18 October 2013

NEXT WEEK

Should bring the start of the release of information held on me by the Business Department, so we should start to learn more about what the previous Labour Government did with my blacklisting evidence and disclosure back in January 2007.

Freedom of Information Act request deadline: 24 October 2013

Data Protection Act request deadline: 5 November 2013

THANK YOU

For your kind messages of support.
 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

CROSSRAIL & THE BLACKLISTING

Ian Davidson MP made the following statement yesterday in Westminster:

"We do recognize now that there has to be legal changes".

"I mean the Crossrail example, where it has been conceded that there was blacklisting on Crossrail, yet the law on blacklisting was not broken".

This can be viewed at 15:32 here:

PARLIAMENT TV DEBATE

I had no idea this had now been conceded by Crossrail. 

Has it?

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

THE POLICE, SECURITY SERVICES & THE BLACKLISTING

Updated: 19 October 2013

There is currently lots of debate about the potential involvement of the police and security services in the blacklisting and I may have some information that can assist those investigating this.

I was originally employed by Carillion in 1993 to set up and manage an internal recruitment agency (NCS M&E) to recruit and supply mechanical and electrical operatives to their projects. 

The internal construction trades agency, NCS (Postworth Limited) was already fully functional within the business under Sandy Palmer and NCS M&E's main objective was to target the business going to external recruitment agencies supplying to Crown House Engineering, thus retaining recruitment control and improving internal profit.

Crown House Engineering were using in the region of 250-400 external temporary agency workers each week at the time, all recruited locally by the site project teams with recruitment agencies of their choice. So with an approximate 80-100 pounds profit per external agency worker timesheet, there was the potential to recover up to 25,000 pounds per week for NCS M&E and the Carillion business in general.

The vast majority of Crown House staff accepted this change as it made perfect common sense. Within two years the NCS M&E business was recruiting and supplying in the region of 400 temporary agency workers to Crown House Engineering projects.

There was however one particular Crown House branch (Retford) which resisted this common sense change to the business. They would make all the right noises at meetings about using NCS M&E, but wouldn't give the business any opportunity to provide their temporary labour.

The Private Security Company - Group 4

I was concerned at meeting such rejection from this branch and in particular, a specific project where I'd identified the site team were using a substantial amount of external agency labour. I therefore reported this to my Manager at the time, Roger Robinson, who in turn introduced me to a man called Colin Blythe from within Carillion.

Colin explained that Carillion used the services of an external security company, Group 4, to covertly look into matters like this. He informed me that they were very thorough and that he was sure they could establish why the project team were so reluctant to use the internal agency service.

The Investigation

I'd say that no more than two weeks had passed and Colin was back with results from Group 4.

He informed me that Group 4 had carried out surveillance on the site and project team and that they'd established that the Crown House project engineeer, Charlie Power was using the services of a recruitment agency called Staffhire who were providing in excess of fifty temporary agency workers to the project.

Furthermore, Group 4 had identified that Charlie was in a personal relationship with a female representative from the agency, Nicki Hampson, and if I recall correctly, that they were living together.

Summary

To the best of my recollection, this was the only time I was aware of the use of this type of surveillance during my time at Carillion.

The company had engaged a large security company to conduct covert surveillance on members of the project team, which must have extended beyond the boundaries of the project itself to ascertain the more personal elements of the investigation findings.

Was this surveillance service extended to other parts of the business or the construction industry in general? I don't know. But Colin Blythe may. He would certainly have retired by now, but originated from the Middlesbrough area where he lived in a small village on the outskirts at the time. 

Update - 19 October 2013

I have managed to locate and speak to Colin this morning. Colin was unaware of my blacklisting campaign or any of the surrounding events such as the select committee and press coverage. This is therefore something he will need time to research and catch up on in order for him to establish if he can help in any way.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

UNITE, UCATT & THE BLACKLISTING

So The Guardian finally got there, reporting on the Bent Union Officials after all this time. They've known about this for years but wouldn't print a single word against the trade unions that fund their precious Labour Party.

GUARDIAN ARTICLE - 13 OCT 2013 

They're still deleting any reference to my website in their Comments section!

Sean Curran from Guney Clark & Ryan:

 "We note that there has been reference to the consultation of Ucatt and Unite in the formulation of the proposed compensation scheme. We express serious concern about the involvement of those organisations."

"We have seen evidence that implicates Amicus (which evolved into Unite) and Ucatt officials in the supply of negative commentary about the suitability of their members for employment."

"That commentary frequently made its way onto the Consulting Association database and was no doubt one of the factors that led to denials of employment."

"It is also worthy of note that those unions refused to support their members in bringing a High Court claim so that they could seek redress for the hardship that they suffered. Many of those that we represent are firm that they object to Unite or Ucatt playing any part in negotiations with the relevant companies for these reasons."

One thing is very clear.

Unite and Ucatt should play no part in any negotiations in respect of compensation for the thousands of blacklisted workers.  

Thursday, 10 October 2013

IS THIS THE END?

Eight years of my life battling for this day

BBC NEWS 

Is this the end? 

Not by a long chalk. These people have lied and denied for the last eight years, thus prolonging the suffering of thousands of construction workers.  

So why trust them now?

When I say 'these people', I don't just mean the construction companies. Senior trade union officials buried my evidence as far back as 2005, with one, Micky Tuff from Unite, calling me a "compulsive lair".

I've also recently submitted Freedom of Information and Data Protection Act requests to the Business Department, so we should soon be able to establish more about why the previous Labour Government failed to act on my blacklisting evidence as far back as January 2007. Please see the following BBC News article on this from earlier this year:

BBC NEWS

Unite are still refusing to provide copies of the letters from their then General Secretary, Derek Simpson from 2006, stating now that they cannot locate them.

The Labour strong select committee are still reluctant to ask Unite one single question about their complicity in all this. Even after the wild goose chase they were set in relation to Crossrail.

There are still so many question unanswered in relation to this scandal, including "Why did Unite and the Labour Party, both who were in full possession of my evidence as far back as 2005 and 2007 respectively want nothing to do with the blacklisting until long after they lost power?".

It's also important to note that Guney Clark Ryan and the GMB are only representing approximately 100 workers each in their High Court claims. As welcome and respected as these claims are, there are still approximately 200 blacklisted workers with their files like myself who these parties could not help and another near 3,000 who do not yet know that they had a Consulting Association blacklist file.

The GMB

On a final note I must say how impressive and modern the GMB campaign has been. So many trade unionists are still stuck in the 70's, but Justin Bowden and the GMB have demonstrated that trade unions can be modern, creative, constructive and effective if led by the right people. 

They have stood out for me, and after working with Justin on their campaign and claim over the last year or so, I do know they still have a surprise or two in the bag for the many HR Managers and other parties who have just sat back and said nothing over the last few years in the hope this would simply go away.

So we press on...