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Labour councillor Archie Dryburgh has welcomed the news that the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee (18 March 14) has being recommended to adopt the Scottish Government’s guidance on excluding from public contracts companies that engage in blacklisting. 

The guidelines suggest the use of a standard pre-qualification questionnaire, requiring firms to disclose if they have breached laws against blacklisting.  If a firm has, in order to be considered for a contract, it must show that it has taken appropriate remedial action, while suggested contract standard terms and conditions allow for a contract to be terminated is a supplier is found to have breached relevant legislation during the course of the contract. 

Blacklisting refers to a practice in which construction companies used a database to vet new recruits so they could keep out trade union and health and safety activists.   This first came to light when in 2009, when the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers who had raised “health and safety” concerns and subsequently were blacklisted by companies when employing people. 44 companies are known to have used the list.

Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Dryburgh had put down a motion welcoming the issuing of the guidelines by the Scottish Government and reaffirming the Council’s opposition to the blacklisting.

Councillor Dryburgh said:

“I welcome the fact that the Policy and Resources Committee is being recommended to adopt anti-blacklisting measures.  A basic human right is the right to work.  Yet this was denied to 528 workers across Scotland and we know that there were 6 local workers on the blacklist. That is 6 workers being denied an income with their only crime being daring to stand up for their fellow workers.  This did not just affect the six workers but their six families as well.”

“These measures should ensure that no company who continues to carry out this vile practice will be rewarded with taxpayer’s money in the form of a public sector contracts.    However, in the long term, I fully support Neil Findlay MSP’s amendment to the Procurement Bill (Scotland) currently going through the Scottish Parliament.  It calls for the exclusion of a company from the procurement process if at any time they have used, sold or supplied a list like that of black-list, unless the company has publicly acknowledged their use of it, apologised to those affected, subsequently employed those affected and paid  adequate compensation.   Only then will those who have suffered at hands of the big companies get real justice.  I hope our local SNP MSPs will demonstrate that they support local workers and fully back this amendment.”

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