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The blacklisting of trade unionists: revised draft regulations

Starting Date: 07-07-09

Closing Date: 18-08-09

Background to consultation

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is seeking views on draft Regulations that will outlaw the blacklisting of trade unionists. The Government believes that trade unions, and those who belong to them and participate in their activities, play a legitimate role in any democratic society. It believes that the blacklisting of trade unionists should have no place in the conduct of employment relations in this country. The Regulations that are the focus of the current consultation are an amended version of Regulations that were the subject of a consultation in 2003.

Purpose of consultation

Our proposals were prompted by the investigation of the Information Commissioner into the to actions of the Consulting Association Ltd. In 2003 the Government consulted on draft Regulations to outlaw trade union blacklisting but did not implement them as there was no evidence that blacklisting occurred. Earlier this year, the Information Commissioner uncovered disturbing, but compelling, new evidence that such blacklisting was occurring in parts of the construction industry. In response, the Government is acting quickly to ensure that this unacceptable activity never re-appears again. This consultation seeks views on how the Government should honour that commitment. It is a shortened consultation of 8 weeks as the Government feels that it is important to act swiftly on this issue.

Areas for consultation

The main areas on which the consultation seeks views are:

  • The definition of a blacklist of trade unionists and the prohibition of the compilation, dissemination and use of such blacklists;
  • making it unlawful for organisations to refuse employment, to dismiss an employee or otherwise cause detriment to a worker for a reason related to a blacklist;
  • making it unlawful for an employment agency to refuse a service to a worker for a reason related to a blacklist;
  • providing for the employment tribunal to hear complaints about alleged breaches and award remedies based on existing trade union law; and
  • an alternative, to provide for the courts to hear complaints from any persons that they have suffered loss or potential loss because of a prohibited blacklisting activity.

Response to consultation

The consultation ran between 7 July and 18 August 2009. The consultation document, which includes the original draft regulations, and the Government's response are published below.

Draft regulations were laid for Parliamentary approval on 5 January. The impact assessment for these regulations can be accessed below. Guidance on the draft blacklisting regulations can also be accessed below.


Consultation Documents

Consultation Responses