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Posting workers

At the meeting of the Standing Committee Building on 23-24 April 2013, the EFBWW and its affiliated members were informed about the “blacklisting in employment (interim) report” of the Scottish House of Commons on the blacklisting practices in the UK. The report reveals shocking blacklisting practices affecting trade union members and supporters in the British construction industry. These practices were very widespread and were common practice for more than a decade in the United Kingdom. The blacklisting practices have destroyed the professional and private lives of more than 3,000 workers.

The EFBWW and all its affiliated members take this matter very serious and completely condemn these practices and are engaged to support the affiliated UK trade unions to achieve justice for blacklisted workers.

The existing UK blacklisting regulations offer no protection and are therefore not fit for this purpose. The EFBWW and its affiliated members consider that “blacklisting” (to supply, compile, solicit or use information in connection with a prohibited list) should be a criminal offence not only in the UK, but in all EU Member States.

The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has discovered that 44 British construction companies have actively participated in the blacklisting practices . Several of the UK companies are daughter companies of European multinationals, such as SKANSKA (Sweden), VINCI (France) and BAM (the Netherlands). At this stage all companies have escaped their responsibility without penalty or punishment. This impunity is completely unacceptable!

The EFBWW and all its affiliated members:

• Strongly insist that the companies found guilty of blacklisting must be barred from tendering for public procured contracts across all European Union member States;
• Urge that all names of the blacklisted persons and victims are discovered and that all of them are contacted personally by the UK ICO and offered a proper compensation, in the same way victims were notified in the UK phone hacking scandal;
• Strongly urge that companies who subscribed to the Consulting Association (TCA) (which managed the blacklisting) pay compensation retrospectively to all those named on the TCA blacklist and call for a public inquiry in the UK into the blacklisting scandal so that there can be no cover up;
• Support the test case lodged with the European Court of Human Rights against successive UK Governments for their failure to outlaw blacklisting, under Article 11 on Freedom of Association and Article 14 on anti-discrimination;
• Are committed to assist the affiliated UK trade unions and concerned workers and victims to build on the resolution passed at the BWI Conference in 2009 in order to “assist unions in taking action where there are suspicions of a blacklist or where blacklisting practices have been confirmed”;
• Recommend that, when a specific multinational company is being targeted for having blacklisted workers, bilateral alliances are formed between trade unions in the country where blacklisting has taken place and trade unions in the country where the company has its headquarters.
• Will, in cooperation with the direct national trade unions, confront the concerned multinational companies for the illicit acts committed by their direct daughter companies, which have been found guilty for their “blacklisting practices”, over which they have direct power, in order to take up their share of responsibility;
• Recommend that the existing legal instruments for transnational information and consultation of workers – such as European Works Councils – are used for exposing and combating blacklisting practices.
• Will set up a European Blacklisting Working Group to ensure that the blacklisting of workers must no longer be part of any of our societies and fulfil the above-mentioned engagements.

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