1. High Court
The High Court Blacklisting Group Litigation show trial was back at the Royal Courts of Justice on Thursday. The lively protest outside the court was joined by Steve Rotheram MP, National Shop Stewards Network, Unite the Resistance and social justice activist Caroline Murphy. (Pix attached).
With 17 wigs including a gaggle of QCs, 20+ solicitors, company spies and dozens of blacklisted workers wearing very visible BLACKLISTED t-shirts, the public gallery was packed. Just in case anyone was in any doubt about the political importance of the trial, at least 2 members of the Labour Party NEC were in attendance. The case was transferred in the afternoon to a courtroom twice the size as elderly blacklisted workers have to stand throughout the morning session in a courtroom that was much too small.
The day was fairly procedural, the main topic of argument being the refusal by the firms to disclose any evidence. The firms have 13 years of minutes, correspondence and invoices from the Consulting Association but to date have refused to disclose a single document. In previous legal proceedings, some of the firms have actually argued that the minutes do not even exist. Much of the evidence was destroyed immediately after the ICO raid in 2009. The firms are attempting every possible delaying tactic in order to not have to disclose the documents they hold. The reason is clear, as Hugh Tomlinson QC told the court, this would provide “smoking gun” evidence of the unlawful conspiracy. Master Leslie ruled that both sides should present a report to the court by December 3rd indicating what documents they are prepared to disclose and what they are not prepared to disclose.
Lead Counsel for the blacklisted workers: Hugh Tomlinson QC, John Hendy QC, Guy Vassal-Adams, John Samson. There are now around 400 blacklisted claimants against 33 respondent companies. It was revealed in court that many of the claims for loss of earnings are in excess of £330,000 – final settlement would be likely to also include an additional payment to cover defamation, hurt to feelings, human rights violations.
The next trial date was set for 17th December and another for Feb 2015 (tbc).
2. Laing O’Rourke protest
Blacklisted workers assaulted during peaceful protest at Laing O’Rourke
Video reportage from Reel News:
3. GMB Crocodile Tears Tour
GMB union have launched a tour targeting the HR professionals and industrial relations managers who were the ‘main contacts’ between the Consulting Association and the blacklisting firms.
Check out when they are in your area and make sure you get down there to join the fun. They’ve got a real crocodile (maybe)
The Chartered Institute of Personell and Development (CIPD) is the professional body for HR in the UK. 61 leading academics involved in teaching and research of employment relations have sent a letter of complaint to the CIPD about the lack of disciplinary action taken against the CIPD members named in parliamant as personally involved in blacklisting.
Blacklist Support Group send a message of thanks to Professor Jane Holgate and the other signatories for organsing this open letter (below):
To: Mr Peter Cheese
Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
151 The Broadway, London, SW19 1JQ
15 October 2014
Most of the signatories below teach in the area of HRM and many are
professional/academic members of CIPD (others are CIPD members and HR
practitioners, or retired CIPD members) and we would like to raise a
concern we have about HR professionals who have been implicated in
blacklisting practices against workers in the construction industry.
We understand that 34 HR professionals have been named in Parliament as
being the managers who used the blacklist on a day-to-day basis and that
some of these may be CIPD members.
We also believe that you, as chief executive of the CIPD, have also
given evidence to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee
inquiry into blacklisting where you told the committee that, if asked,
you would reveal which of the blacklisters were members of the
professional body. We understand that the trade union the GMB have
written to you about this but have yet to receive a response.
We are concerned that blacklisting is not only discriminatory due to
trade union activities or because of individuals raising health and
safety concerns, but that it has destroyed the careers and livelihoods
of a considerable number of workers: this is unacceptable behaviour and
not worthy of any HR professional and which seriously contravenes the
CIPD’s own professional code of conduct. Further, as academics, we all
teach on or are responsible for CIPD programmes which put an emphasis on
ethical practice and the core issue here is that seemingly members of
the association have contravened the right to freedom of association,
one of ILO’s core labour standards.
The Scottish Affairs Committee has said companies that have been caught
blacklisting should undertake a process of ‘self-cleaning’; we believe
this should also apply to the CIPD if we are to maintain credibility as
a professional organization.
We would therefore request that you launch an investigation into whether
any of the people included in the list below are current or former
members of CIPD.
If this is found to be the case they should be expelled from CIPD
membership. Further we would ask that there is full disclosure of any
investigation (who carried out the investigation, who was investigated
and who refused to participate and whether or not sanctions were
applied) and that this is made publicly available to CIPD members.
We would appreciate a speedy response to our letter.
Professor Jane Holgate, University of Leeds
Professor Miguel Martinez Lucio, University of Manchester
Professor Edmund Heery, Cardiff University
Professor Melanie Simms, University of Leicester
Professor Geraldine Healy, Queen Mary, University of London
Dr James Richards, Heriot-Watt University
Professor Irena Grugulis, University of Leeds
Professor Phil Taylor, University of Strathclyde
Professor Mark Stuart, University of Leeds
Dr Paul Brooks, University of Leicester
Dr Jo Grady, University of Leicester
Professor Ralph Darlington, University of Salford
Professor Bob Carter, University of Leicester
Dr Andrew Smith, University of Bradford
Dr Lesley Mearns, University of Sunderland
Dr Ana Lopes, University of the West of England
Chris Ball, Chief Executive, TAEN – The Age and Employment Network
Joe England, retired
Assistant Professor, Fuat MAN Sakarya University Faculty of Management
Dr Debbie Foster, Cardiff Business School
Prof. Marek Korczynski University of Nottingham
Dr Nick Creaby-Attwood, Northumbria University
Dr Hazel Conley, Queen Mary, University of London
Tracy Walsh, Ruskin College
Professor Tony Dundon, NUI Galway
Dr Liz Oliver, University of Leeds
Professor Chris Forde, University of Leeds
Professor Martin Upchurch, Middlesex University Business School
Sue Ledwith, Emeritus Scholar, Ruskin College
Professor Sonia McKay, London Metropolitan University
Dr Gabriella Alberti, University of Leeds
Professor Sian Moore, University of the West of England
Professor Stephanie Tailby, University of the West of England
Dr Tessa Wright, Queen Mary, University of London
Professor Steve Jeffries, London Metropolitan University
Anne Jones, University of Sheffield
Roger Walden, University of Manchester
Dr Ian Greenwood, University of Leeds
Dr Michael Richardson, University of the West of England
Dr Horen Voskeritsian, University of the West of England
Dr Sue Abbott, Northumbria University
Professor Keith Whitfield, Cardiff University
Professor Stephen A. Linstead, University of York
Professor Rob McKenzie, University of Leeds
Professor Jenny Tomlinson, University of Leeds
Professor Frank Burchill, University of Tasmania
Professor Sue Corby, University of Greenwich
Emeritus Professor Jeff Hyman, University of Aberdeen
Dr Leonard Holmes, University of Roehampton Business School
Dr Ron Beadle, Northumbria University
Dr Mike Rigby, London South Bank University
Mr Roger M Walden, University of Manchester Business School
Dr Deborah Dean, Warwick Business School
Dr Kathy Hartley, Salford Business School, University of Salford
Jonathan Lord, Salford Business School, University of Salford
Dr Dave Redfern, Salford Business School, University of Salford
Dr Sudi Sharifi, Salford Business School, University of Salford
Professor Phil Almond, De Montfort University
Dr Brian Garvey, Dept Human Resources, University of Strathclyde
Chibuzo Ejiogu, PGR, University of Strathclyde
Emerita Professor Anna Pollert, University of the West of England.