Spooks face complaint over links to blacklisting, as union demands full investigation

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By John Millington

Blacklisted workers have lodged a formal complaint to the security services watchdog, calling for an investigation about potential involvement of MI5, the Government Communications HQ and other sections of the security services over the recent Consulting Association blacklisting scandal.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal which received the complaint on 21 February was lodged by Sarah McSherry of Christian Khan solicitors on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group and comes only a few days after the IPCC revealed that they had asked the Met Police “Operation Herne” to investigate the role of undercover police officers in blacklisting of trade union members in the construction industry.

The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service – Criminal Allegations against Police Division has only now acknowledged receipt of the complaint to the IPT.

The suspected involvement of security services in blacklisting first came to light in January 2012 when David Clancy (head of investigations at the Information Commissioners Office and ex-police officer) told the Central London Employment Tribunal that “information on some of the blacklist files could only have been supplied by the police or the security services”.

Mr Clancy repeated the statement during a Select Committee investigation into blacklisting in the autumn of 2012.

Blacklisted workers have repeatedly complained that entries on some of their files include personal sensitive information that has never been in the public domain and appear to come from under cover state surveillance or phone tapping.

These assertions by blacklisted workers appear to have been confirmed when The Times newspaper revealed that a “key officer” from the National Extremism and Tactical unit (NECTU) attended Consulting Association meetings during 2008.

It is alleged that there was a mutual exchange of information between the two organisations according to information supplied to The Times by Ian Kerr, the recently deceased chief executive of the Consulting Association.

The discovery of over 200 environmental activists were also on the illegal blacklist has added to the story, especially as environmental activists were a well publicised target of NECTU.

Steve Hedley (RMT union Assistant General Secretary) and a named blacklisted worker in the complaint said:

“If the security services are secretly colluding with big business to blacklist trade union members, then this is a major human rights violation.”

“I have seen information on blacklist files that almost certainly emanated from undercover surveillance and the documentary evidence would suggest that state collusion in this conspiracy has been going on for decades.”

“The RMT demand a full investigation into any links between MI5, MI6 and GCHQ and those shady blacklisting organisations such as the Consulting Association and the Economic League.”

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