Blacklisting Bastards - A Short Summary
From 1919 to 1994 the Economics League ran a blacklist of workers to stop people they considered subversive getting work. (This included anyone, from commie trade unionists to someone speaking up for their work mates). The Economics League included companies such as Ford and McDonalds and worked with MI5. After exposure, beginning in the late eighties, they apparently disbanded and their blacklist vanished. For more info on the Economics League visit the excellent archive website of the 1 in 12 Club .
Out of the Economics League sprang at least two similar companies: the Consulting Agency and Caprim. The Consulting Agency ran a construction workers blacklist and was recently busted by the information commissioner. Only a few weeks after this, maybe hoping to avoid the law, Caprim put in an application to be wound up. We have further details of this and both shadowy groups in the links to the right.
New Labour decided not to enact a law against blacklisting, in 1999, because they said ‘there is no evidence that this happens’. A few years ago they spent £1m setting up Action Against Business Crime whose latest wheeze is the National Staff Dismissal Register … a blacklist. Listing any workers accused of ‘causing a loss’ to the company. We also have info on the people involved in this blacklist in the links to the right.
Only one person from the Consulting Association was prosecuted and only some of the construction firms involved had their knuckles rapped, most got off scot free. Blacklisted workers have set up their own support group (Blacklist Support Group - blacklistSG@googlemail.com) to highlight the involvement of the companies involved and may be looking at taking legal action against them.
Since this all came to light the government has been consulting on enacting the blacklisting law and this might happen soon. Unfortunately it seems likely to only cover union members (a lot of bolshie construction workers aren't in unions) and might not cover agencies who keep info on agency workers. There looks likely to be limited powers of investigation, no fines and no jail for those involved.
There are some questions still unanswered:
First the odd coincidence: The Consulting Association was busted in March 09, and Caprim was disbanded in April 09. Were they worried they would be next? Were they hoping to avoid the Information Commissioner's grasp? What will happen to all their files?
Second: are there any more secret blacklists out there? Ideas, pointers and snippets we have recieved are in the links on the right .
We need your help
To investigate the blacklisters we have listed the information we can find out about those involved; however we would like to know more. If you have any more details about the Consulting Association, Caprim, the NSDR, the companies involved and the people in those companies who were dealing with the blacklist; or even if you know of other blacklisting groups (it might be worth looking at who else was involved in the Economics League and what they are up to now) then please get in touch via the contact page.