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Regulations in force outlawing union blacklisting

Regulations in force outlawing union blacklisting

The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010 came into force on 2 March 2010 making it unlawful to compile, use, sell or supply blacklists relating to union membership and activities, and providing rights for workers not to be subjected to detriment or dismissal for a reason connected to a prohibited list.

In March 2009 the Information Commissioner reported that 40 construction companies had subscribed to a database used to vet construction workers in respect of union membership and activities. The individual who operated the database was subsequently fined £5,000 for committing a criminal offence under data protection law.  In response, the Government announced that it would use its powers to outlaw blacklisting. This has resulted in the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations 2010, which came into force on 2 March 2010.

The Regulations prohibit the use of ‘prohibited lists’, i.e. lists: (i) containing details of people who are, or have been, members of trade unions, or who are taking part, or have taken part in, trade union activities; and (ii) compiled with a view to it being used by employers or employment agencies for the purposes of discrimination.

The Regulations: (i) make it unlawful for organisations to refuse employment or sack individuals as a result of appearing on a blacklist; (ii) make it unlawful for employment agencies to refuse to provide a service on the basis of an individual appearing on a blacklist; and (iii) enable individuals or unions to pursue compensation or request action against those who compile, distribute or use blacklists.  Further guidance can be found at ‘The blacklisting of trade unionists: BIS Guidance on Blacklisting

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