Blacklisting to be Outlawed
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Issued 02 December 2009
It will be unlawful for trade union members to be denied employment
through blacklists under plans outlined by Employment Relations Minister
Lord Young today.
To prevent employers from blacklisting workers for their trade union
membership or activities the Government will introduce new rules banning the
practice. The move comes as the Government publishes its response to a
public consultation on the subject held over the summer, and follows
evidence that a number of employers in the construction sector had been
unlawfully vetting workers.
Employment Relations Minister Lord Young said:
“Blacklisting someone because they are a member of a trade union is
“There is already legal protection against the misuse of people’s
personal details. We will now strengthen the law by introducing new
regulations to outlaw the compilation, dissemination and use of blacklists.
“The Government is determined to stamp out this despicable practice and
our legislative proposals are a proportionate and robust response”.
The regulations will:
make it unlawful for organisations to refuse employment or sack
individuals as a result of appearing on a blacklist; make it unlawful for
employment agencies to refuse to provide a service on the basis of appearing
on a blacklist; and enable individuals or unions to pursue compensation or
solicit action against those who compile, distribute or use blacklists.
The Government plans to table the regulations for Parliament to consider
as soon as possible. They will need to be debated and approved by each House
before they can be implemented. Provided Parliament gives its approval, the
regulations could be brought into effect early next year.
1. Under section 3 of the Employment Relations Act 1999, the government
has the power to introduce regulations prohibiting the blacklisting of
workers for their union membership or activities.
2. In March the Information Commissioner reported that 40 construction
companies had subscribed to a database used to vet construction workers,
which has now been closed under data protection law. On 16 July, Mr Ian
Kerr, the individual who operated the database, was fined £5,000 at
Knutsford Crown Court for committing a criminal offence under data
3. In response to this new evidence on 11 May 2009, the government
announced that it would seek to bring forward legislation to outlaw
blacklisting – the statement to Parliament can be found here
4. A public consultation on revised draft regulations took place between
7 July and 18 August this year. The Government response to the public
consultation can be viewed here:
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business
success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone
the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster
world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing
in our future.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-12-02 19:27:47 in Employee Articles