In this post we are specifically going to look at the actions of Mick Tuff, current Unite area official for the West Midlands. The region Gerard Coyne boasts he has led for the last fifteen years in his Unite leadership election manifesto (albeit they did not merge with Amicus until 2007).
I alerted Tuff to the blacklisting at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited (then Haden Young) back in 2005 and presented him with the two key pieces of blacklisting evidence in my possession:
1. The Haden Young blacklist checking sheets
2. The Jubilee Line, Royal Opera House and Pfizer lists
It was this exact same evidence, no more or less, that David Clancy at the ICO used to locate and close down the Consulting Association (CA) in 2009, some four years later.
It then took a further seven years to get any justice, in which only 771 of the 3,213 received meaningful compensation in May 2016.
So lets look at what Tuff did with the blacklisting evidence. There can only be one of two possible outcomes from the documents I'm presenting here.
Outcome 1. Senior Officials leaned on Tuff and forced him to bury this issue.
Outcome 2. Tuff buried this evidence of his own volition.
The first theory is supported by a Facebook exchange between myself and ex Amicus Official, Gareth Wallis, who is referring to conversations with Tuff in 2005. Gareth eventually left the union to work at the Electrical Contractors Association, and subsequently, CA member, Mathew Hall/SPIE.
I have just used extracts in this post, but the full documents are available to download HERE
In the first two pages of this facebook message exchange, Gareth talks about his labour management experience of Tom Hardacre blacklisting workers:
Gareth Wallis Quote:
By the way, Tom Hardacre was the worst for blacklist activity! Fucking disgusting man.
I don't know if he ever formally submitted stuff to Ian Kerr. What I do know is that he would publicly say to me and my ECA colleagues:
"You lot should be making public statements against blacklisting. You should be telling them to employ AN Other."
Then after the meeting he'd say:
"You know I've got to say that, but don't touch him. He's a fuckin nightmare"
Gareth then goes on to talk about his friend, Mick Tuff.
You just mentioned Mick Tuff. I know him very well.
I remember Mick telling me on the day you had first contacted him - We were at the JIB National Conference in Bosworth Hall and he asked me what the fuck to do. I said he should represent you. I also know that he was leant on from above, because I know Mick wanted to take it on.
He confided in me because we were good pals. I've not seen him much since then but whenever I spoke to him since, and even until recently, he just says to me "They told me I had to leave it Stu, the bastards".
This exchange suggests that Outcome 1 is the correct one, and that the powers that be leaned on Tuff to bury the blacklisting evidence.
Maybe they didn't lean on him, so let's look at Outcome 2.
A freedom of information request to Unite in 2012 revealed a number of very interesting facts. These are detailed in a letter from Tuff to Alison Humphrey at solicitors, Rowley Ashworth dated 21 July 2006. This is the period immediately after I had raised the blacklisting directly with Derek Simpson.
I will provide a download of the actual document below, but the letter details the following:
1. That Tuff believed my evidence did not prove anything and was just a set of names.
Fact: Tuff was in possession of the actual Haden Young blacklisting check sheets, and in particular, one which had the name of Michael Shakespeare on it, who had been rejected by Haden Young following that particular Consulting Association check.
Fact: Tuff was in possession of the lists of names of over 500 workers involved in industrial disputes at the Jubilee Line, Royal Opera House and Pfizer projects. Lists of names that had been exchanged between Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Limited (then Balfour Kilpatrick) and Drake & Scull.
2. That Tuff approached Neil Cappell (the Haden Young labour manager conducting the blacklisting checks) informing him that he had the blacklisting check sheets (that Cappell had processed) in his possession; and that he had questioned Cappell on whether a blacklist existed.
3. That Cappell denied this and Tuff just accepted this.
4. That Tuff states that he did not encourage me to join the union and that I joined via the Mold office.
5. That Tuff accuses me of being a liar.
Fact: It is Tuff that is lying here, as he did encourage me to join. He did provide the joining forms and subsequently accompanied me to both grievance meetings with Haden Young, following which he came into possession of the blacklisting evidence.
Fact: This can be confirmed by John Hamilton, who was the regional official in Mold. John and I did have a brief conversation about the blacklisting, but he felt the matter was best handled by Tuff and that is how we moved forward.
Fact: My membership form dated 11 August 2005 can be downloaded here: A WAINWRIGHT - AMICUS MEMBERSHIP
Fact: I had previously been a member of the EETPU and AEEU for some years in my career, and had been a member of Amicus for ten months when I raised the blacklisting with Derek Simpson in June 2006.
6. That Tuff states the alleged blacklist was handed to him outside the offices of Haden Young.
Fact: Tuff was already in possession of the Haden Young (Neil Cappell) blacklist check sheets and was handed the additional Drake & Scull Jubilee Line, Royal Opera House and Pfizer lists outside Haden Young's offices.
7. That Tuff states that he had carried out some investigations, but concluded:
"I am in the firm belief that Mr Wainwright is a compulsive liar".
8. That Tuff feels that he has acted correctly on behalf of Amicus and takes exception to my comments about his professional conduct as an Amicus full time official.
The full letters can be downloaded here PAGE 1 and here PAGE 2
So let's look at Tuff's motive for this cover up. Amicus Unite were receiving millions from the construction companies at the time in trade union subscriptions via a benefits scheme.
This is specifically reported on in this Radio 4 documentary at 12:10 THE REPORT
Therefore only one of these two outcomes can be correct. Either Tuff was leaned on to bury the evidence or he did this of his own volition.
Whichever is true, covering up this evidence prolonged the suffering of thousands of blacklisted workers for a decade, and the functionality of the Consulting Association would most certainly have continued unchallenged had it not been for the persistence of myself, Steve Acheson and David Clancy at the ICO.
In my opinion, this cover up by Tuff, for whatever reason, is the greatest single tragedy in the entire blacklisting scandal.
Tuff is still employed as the Unite area official for the West Midlands. A post he has enjoyed for the last twelve years or so, while the thousands of blacklisted workers he could have helped struggled to find work from 2005.
Isn't it about time he came clean and started telling the truth?