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By John Millington
Companies operating a blacklist to vet their workforce will be barred from all council contracts in Wolverhampton, city councillors said tonight.
A motion before a full meeting of local councillors unanimously agreed to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy against the practice and to the authorise council chiefs to take “every legitimate step necessary to ensure that the Council does not engage or contact with a company that continues to operate a blacklist.”
Council leader Roger Lawrence, who moved the motion in the chamber, said the illegal practice was “not acceptable” referring to Scottish Select Committee of MP’s ongoing investigation into the matter.
“This is not about blacklisting construction companies or about conducting an inquiry into practices in the past,” he said.
It is about the here and now, he added.
Speaking after the meeting, Labour Cllr for Bushbury North Ian Angus said: “This outrageous practice has gone on for too long.”
“We need to keep the issue in the public spotlight and to do anything we can to prevent it from happening.”
Mr Angus added that there was a “strong case” for looking into judicial sanctions against companies who are found to be blacklisting workers.
Blacklisting is illegal under the Employment Act 2010 and has become a national scandal following revelations that a group known as the Consulting Association utilised by major contractors up and down the country, kept illegal files on workers they wanted to keep out of employment in the construction industry.
The Consulting Association was raided in 2009 and subsequently shutdown.
The move by Wolverhampton Councillors follows a decision by the Welsh government to bar contractors who use a blacklist from obtaining public sector works contracts last week.