U.K. When Freedom of Speech Loses the Right to Work
It was in the memorable 2008 that the reputable British daily, The Guardian disclosed that there is a secret blacklist used by 44 leading employers whose views were in favor of the union. Labeled ‘left-wing troublemakers’. Founded by Ian Kerr, The Consulting Association made the list available for a fee, based on surveillance files on over 3,200 workers, including political activists, shop stewards and health and safety representatives according to Common Dream. Lives have been ruined goin back as far back as the 1960s, with long term unemployment, and broken marriages as a result, while Ian Kerr only got a fine of U.S$7,500.
This blacklist comes to the fore again as Liberty threatens to take this to court, as none of the cases were investigated. From the Black List Support Group one can learn what happened to some of these men…
Mick Abbott, a 74-year-old ex-scaffolder:
“This nearly ruined my marriage and it meant that my children were on free meals at school. My file goes back to 1964 and the last entry says that I rekindled the campaign for justice for the Shrewsbury picketers in 2006. They have been watching me all these years and passing this information around, blighting my life over four decades.”
Steve Kelly – an electrician:
“I was blacklisted because I was a union member and because I raised issues about safety. In 2007, [Sir Robert] McAlpine sacked me from the Colchester Barracks project after 2 days for refusing to work on a moving platform without proper training (exactly as we had been instructed in the site induction) – the dismissal is recorded on my blacklist file.
“Over the year I suffered severe financial strain, my wages were cut in half which caused immense stress paying bills and putting food on table. I was out of work for a year apart from few weeks here and there in 2001. Being sacked from Colchester Barracks after only two days piled up the stress and caused a nervous breakdown for me eventually.”