McAlpine to face grilling on 'blacklist'
Jan 20, 2013 (Financial Mail on Sunday - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
CONSTRUCTION firm Sir Robert McAlpine will this week answer accusations about its alleged role in financing an illegal blacklist used to prevent workers whom big building firms did not like from getting work on sites.
Cullum McAlpine, a member of the company's founding family and a director, will appear before MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee on Tuesday to answer questions about the company's involvement with The Consulting Association, which operated the blacklist.
The list was used by construction firms to avoid employing people they regarded as troublemakers.
An investigation by the Information Commissioner's Office found it contained references to workers' trade union membership and those who had highlighted health and safety issues.
One entry read, "ex-shop steward, definite problems, no go," while another said that someone was a "poor time-keeper, will cause trouble, strong trade union."
The ICO fined Ian Kerr, former chief officer of The Consulting Association, pounds sterling 5,000 in 2009 for operating the list.
Kerr told MPs on the committee in November last year that Sir Robert McAlpine had paid the pounds sterling 5,000 fine, as well as providing finance to wind up the association.
He said Cullum McAlpine was chairman of The Consulting Association when it was set up.
Kerr died of natural causes just two weeks after giving evidence.
A pounds sterling 17 million High Court claim by victims of the blacklist has also alleged that Sir Robert McAlpine played a central role in the organisation of the blacklist.
It was used by more than 40 big construction companies, including Balfour Beatty and Skanska.
Sir Robert McAlpine said in a statement last night: euro ~Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd has never operated a "blacklist." We are, and have always been, wholly committed to maintaining good relationships with our workforce and to responsible trade unionism."
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