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Trade Union Membership: Blacklisting To Be Outlawed

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It will be unlawful for trade union members to be denied employment through blacklists under plans outlined by Employment Relations Minister Anthony Young yesterday.

The move follows publication of the Government's to a public consultation on employers blacklisting workers for their trade union membership or activities held over the summer, and follows evidence that a number of employers in the construction sector had been unlawfully vetting workers.

Anthony Young said: "Blacklisting someone because they are a member of a trade union is totally unacceptable.  There is already legal protection against the misuse of people's personal details.  We will now strengthen the law by introducing new regulations to outlaw the compilation, dissemination and use of blacklists.  The Government is determined to stamp out this despicable practice and our legislative proposals are a proportionate and robust response."

The regulations will:

  • make it unlawful for organisations to refuse employment or sack individuals as a result of appearing on a blacklist;

  • make it unlawful for employment agencies to refuse to provide a service on the basis of appearing on a blacklist; &

  • enable individuals or unions to pursue compensation or solicit action against those who compile, distribute or use blacklists. 

The Government plans to table the regulations for Parliament to consider as soon as possible.  They will need to be debated and approved by each House before they can be implemented.  Provided Parliament gives its approval, the regulations could be brought into effect early next year.

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