Saturday, 30 November 2013

SNP legislation will tackle 'blacklisting'

Moves to ban from public contracts any companies that have been involved in ‘blacklisting’ workers are to be given legal backing.

SNP legislation currently progressing through the Scottish Parliament – the Procurement Reform Bill – is to include provision to ban such companies, a measure welcomed by local MSP Margaret Burgess.

Blacklisting is a practice where employers, particularly in the construction industry, compile a list of workers they consider to be ‘undesirables’.  A person’s name can appear on a list for reasons such as raising concerns about issues of health and safety on sites or being an active member of a trade union.  Once on a list, workers have, in the past, been prevented from gaining employment within entire industries.

 “New guidelines for public bodies require companies seeking public sector contracts to disclose whether they have been involved in the practice,” said Mrs Burgess.  “If a company is found to have used a blacklist, a bidder will have to show it has taken appropriate remedial action.  This gives a real impetus to efforts to address the deeply unfair practice.”

The MSP for Cunninghame South, which includes Stevenston, noted that “Blacklisting has blighted the lives and livelihoods of all too many people in Scotland and there is absolutely no justification for it.  People’s rights have been trampled simply for being part of a trade union, and that is totally unacceptable.”

Mrs Burgess said the Procurement Reform Bill “sends out the clear message that blacklisting will not be tolerated and that Scotland’s public sector will show real leadership in standing up to companies who engage in it.”

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