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Unions press building contractors to pledge not to use blacklist databases

Phil Chamberlain

Unions are pressing construction firms to make a pledge not to use blacklists against workers.

Blacklisted construction workers outside Macclesfield Magistrates Court. From left to right: Tony Jones, Howard Nolan, Steve Acheson, Graham Bowker and Sean Keaveney

Yesterday, Ian Kerr from Stoke Heath, West Midlands, pleaded guilty to breaking data protection laws by running a covert database which held the details of more than 3,000 construction workers. Many of the country's biggest building firms subscribed to Kerr's services. He will be sentenced at crown court.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of Ucatt, said, "Mr Kerr set out to ruin construction workers' lives. He deserves the maximum possible sentence."

The construction union has already won a pledge from contractor Skanska that it will not use blacklists. Officials are meeting representatives from other contractors to wring similar pledges.

In particular, Ucatt wants to ensure that major public works such as the Olympic building programme are blacklist-free.


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