By John Millington
CONSTRUCTION WORKERS brought central London to a standstill this evening, following a “flashmob” style protest against blacklisting within the industry.
Nearly 100 workers stopped buses and cars, erected banners and waved flags, for an hour and a half outside the Oxford Circus Crossrail project.
Blacklisting in the construction industry during the 90’s is currently the subject of a parliamentary select committee inquiry and the practice has been roundly condemned by Labour MP’s.
However campaigners tonight insisted that the illegal practice is still taking place.
Blacklist Support Group spokesman Dave Smith said he welcomed MP’s condemning the practice but fine words were “not enough” he added.
Mr Smith – himself a blacklisted worker was adamant that blacklisting is still occurring on building sites up and down the country today.
“We have evidence that time and time again that someone becomes a safety rep not only do they get sacked, they can’t get a job anywhere else,” he said.
“More evidence is coming out but it is the trade union movement that will stop the blacklisting. We are going to stay here and hound these multinational companies till we get justice.”
Huge banners stating “Blacklisting Ruins Lives” were used to barricade the road as police stood helpless and unable to move the demonstration on to the pavement.
And campaigners could be heard venting their anger toward Crossrail site managers, shouting, “sinister” and “scum” repeatedly.
Addressing activists in the pouring rain, Unite the Union regional officer Malcolm Bonnett warned: “The tables are turned now. We are going to cause misery for the shareholders and directors.”
“This blacklisting is going to be smashed. Unite is leading that fight to get rid of this scum bag practice.”
However Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme denied blacklisting was occurring on the project, saying: “Crossrail Limited is not aware of, and has seen no evidence of, blacklisting of any kind in connection with the Crossrail project. If Unite has any evidence then we wish to see it; we have made this point a number of times and yet none has been forthcoming. Crossrail has written to the trades unions on several occasions setting out our commitment to taking firm, decisive and immediate action if any substantive evidence can be presented.”
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