Blacklisted: the book – Official Trailer

The long awaited book by Dave Smith and Phil Chamberlain, “Blacklisted: the secret war between big business and union activists” is finally published in March by New Internationalist.

The official book launch is 6-8pm Thursday 12th March 2015

Committee Room 15

Houses of Parliament



Dave Smith, author
Phil Chamberlain, author
John McDonnell, MP
Gail Cartmail, Assistant General Secretary, Unite

Followed by drinks and book signing at St Stevens Tavern (next to Westminster tube)
RSVP to:


Further regional book launch events are planned throughout March, April & May. Anyone wishing to host an event should contact:


Quotes from the authors:


Phil Chamberlain, author & investigative journalist:

“”Legendary Sunday Times editor Harry Evans once said, there were only two types of news story; one headlined ‘we name the guilty man’, the other ‘arrow points to defective part’. In ‘Blacklisted’, we name the guilty people and we reveal the defective parts. The only question now is when will justice be served.”

Dave Smith, author & blacklisted engineer:

“This book is a grenade that will blow apart the blacklisting conspiracy.”

What people are saying about ‘Blacklisted’

‘This book will be a wake- up call to all who think we live in a democracy where all are equal before the law. These are big questions for the employers and the police, as well as Labour politicians and Union leaders.’

Ken Loach, film director

“There is still a long way to go to secure justice for the blacklisted workers and to bring to book those blacklisting companies and their directors who scarred the lives of so many workers and their families. Nevertheless a start has been made and this book will make a major contribution to securing the righting of an appalling wrong.”

John McDonnell MP


‘The book on blacklisting by Phil Chamberlain and Dave Smith could turn out be one of most important of 2015.’

Rob Evans, journalist for The Guardian & author of Undercover


“’This book lifts the lid on blacklisting and on the decades of denials, lies and deceit by construction employers over the shameful treatment and damage to thousands of workers. After years of denial the companies finally admitted that they did it. However it is now time for the employers to give the victims proper justice and pay them the compensation they deserve. These employers must be made to pay the price for their outrageous behaviour towards their fellow citizens. The book also lifts the lid on the lieutenants who organized blacklisting daily for decades are still in senior positions in companies and the public sector across the land. They have not even shed crocodile tears for the victims they blacklisted.  This book should be read by all activists who can play a vital role in holding the companies accountable. GMB salute the campaign waged by Dave Smith and the Blacklist Support Group for justice.’

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary

‘This book demonstrates that the suppression of labour rights is an issue as important as it was in the days when union organisers were sent to the colonies.’

Jeremy Hardy, comedian

‘Blacklisting of trades unionists and workspace activists is one of the great scandals of the modern workplace. The story set out in this book provides a stark warning to all workers who want to organise for decent pay and conditions. Those who have campaigned on this issue deserve the support of everyone who believes in justice’

Matt Wrack, General Secretary FBU

“Blacklisting is a scourge that has blighted the lives and careers of countless trade unionists across the movement. It’s great to see a piece of investigative journalism lifting the lid on a despicable practice that deserves the highest exposure and censure.”

Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary NUJ

“Our collective resilience will defeat blacklisting. Victims of blacklisting are heroes to our movement and together we will ensure the establishment is exposed for covering up this blight on society. This book is part of the collective campaign to win justice.”

Gail Cartmail – Assistant General Secretary UNITE


‘Blacklisting workers because of their trade union activities is the archetypal breach of the fundamental human right of freedom of association. It is no defence that this pernicious and clandestine activity has been conducted by employers (often assisted by agents of the State) for more than two hundred years. But for the Information Commissioner’s raid in 2009, blacklisting in the construction industry would today still be conducted by the so-called Consulting Association. The suspicion must be that, aided by modern technology, blacklisting operates in many other industries and in many countries. This book lays bare the disgraceful history of blacklisting in the British construction industry and the appalling effect it had on the victims and their families. If ever a book made a case for basic trade union rights, this is it.’

Professor Keith Ewing and John Hendy QC

‘I recommend people read this book. Just by picking up this book, just by reading it, you challenge what I believe to be a state and corporate spying culture that is out of control.’

Mark Thomas, comedian

‘Well done to the authors for exposing this vile and violent aspect of capitalism. Of course, the bosses, supported as they are by the ruling class, are the real criminals; but they are protected by the state, unlike the workers.’

Mary Davis, Professor of Labour History, Royal Holloway, University of London


“This book is a powerful and necessary expose of a dark episode in British industrial relations – the blacklisting of construction workers for trade union activities or for raising health and safety concerns in the industry. In exposing this scandal, the book points to the role of large corporations, the state and the security services in the surveillance of a wide range of activists. Above all the book is a testimony to the bravery and integrity of construction workers in standing up to unbelievably hostile employers to assert workers’ rights and to challenge health & safety practices but also to the very heavy personal price that these workers have paid for doing so.”

Professor Sian Moore – Director Centre of Employment Studies Research, University of West of England

‘This powerful book shows that blacklisting is more than about union members in one industry but is a human rights scandal which affects us all. The evidence the authors have carefully compiled reveals how everyone from academics in Glasgow, to offshore oil rig workers, to builders in Edinburgh and even a disabled war veteran from Dundee were targeted. We wait to see whether new procurement guidance in Scotland will force the guilty to own up, apologise and pay up but we couldn’t have got this far we have without the diligence of the authors and campaigning work of the trade unions and the real heroes of this story those ordinary men and women in the Blacklist Support Group who refused to give up. Their determination and campaigning is an example to us all.’

Neil Findlay MSP for the Lothians and Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health & Wellbeing

‘Dave Smith has been at the forefront of the campaign to expose the loathsome and illegal practice of blacklisting of employees for trade union and political activities for many years. His was a lonely voice at first but has now compelled Parliament and society at large to sit up, listen and condemn the unacceptable practice. This book should be required reading for anyone interested in how big business covertly subverts democracy and trade union rights. Please read it, discuss it and pass it on.’

Tommy Sheridan, former member of the Scottish Parliament and co-convenor of Solidarity

‘This book performs a major service in documenting the scale and persistence of blacklisting: a conspiracy between major employers, right-wing ideologues and the police to destroy the livelihoods of courageous trade unionists who defend the rights of their fellow workers.’

Richard Hyman, Emeritus Professor of Industrial Relations

Editor, European Journal of Industrial Relations

“Dave Smith has stared hard into the gloomy world of blacklisting. In this important publication he drags its secrets back into the light.”

Daniel Blackburn, Director, the International Centre for Trade Union Rights

‘The right to form and join a trade union, to collectively bargain and to strike has long been a universal human right. This important book provides a fascinating and cogent investigation of the scandalous activities of UK construction industry employers in organising to deny this right. It is a superb expose of the secret world of blacklisting and should be read by all who believe in democracy, justice and freedom.’

Professor Andy Danford – University of West of England / Bristol Business School


“Smith and Chamberlain’s forensic investigation provides a searing indictment of the collusion between the state and the construction industry that saw thousands blacklisted. They reveal how objecting to deadly working conditions could get you thrown out of work for good. This masterful book demonstrates how only creative grassroots organising exposed the blacklisters and their cash-dispensing construction cronies. It also reveals this isn’t yesterday’s problem; this life-wrecking human rights scandal persists to this day. Be vigilant and get organised – the blacklisters could still be coming for you.’

Rory O’Neill, Editor Hazards magazine



Blacklist Support Group



Issue 43, Dec 2014

Reel News 43 cover

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Let us know if you want the DVDs

1) A Different Kind of Tour: Derry (Reel News) 22:36

Veterans for Peace who served in the North of Ireland meet Bloody Sunday relatives who are still fighting for justice.

2) St. Mungo’s strike (Reel News) 10:51

Hugely significant victory for housing workers in London with sustained strike action.

3) Biofuels: GIB’s birthday (Reel News) 3:55

Protest at the Green Investment Bank’s 2nd birthday celebrations.

4) Blacklisting: Laing O’Rourkes (Reel News) 6:35

Laing O’Rourkes’ thugs assault construction workers taking peaceful direct action.

5) Blacklisting: High Court (Reel News) 9:31

Start of the High Court trial of construction companies for conspiracy to blacklist.

6) Poor Doors Protest (Reel News) 7:31

Activists fight social segregation in East London.

7) Kobane demo (Reel News) 9:45

Huge solidarity demo in London with the Kurdish resistance fighting ISIS in Kobane.

8) Boycott Workfare (Reel News) 2:50

Urban Futures is occupied over their treatment of claimants on enforced jobsearch.

9) Remembrance Day (Reel News) 7:39

Veterans for Peace march to the Cenotaph carrying a banner saying “Never Again”.

10) The Hive (Reel News) 6:28

A hub in Portugal for sustainable education based on permaculture principles.

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Veterans for Peace mark Remembrance Day 2014

Veterans for Peace march to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day, wearing hoodies bearing the Harry Patch quote, “War is organised murder”, and carrying a banner saying “Never Again”.

They lay a wreath of mainly white poppies with a few red ones – to remind us that the vast majority of people killed in wars are civilians, and that they – as well as soldiers from all sides of all wars – should be remembered too.

Fighting social segregation in East London.

Number 1 Commercial Street in Whitechapel is typical of modern housing developments in London. Buying or renting a flat is only possible for bankers and lottery winners who enjoy a reception area equipped with a 24-hour concierge. Meanwhile social housing tenants are made to use a more humble side entrance in a dimly lit adjoining alley. This practice has been banned in New York though Tory mayor Boris Johnson has no problem with it continuing.

The ‘poor doors’ have become a symbol of the social cleansing of our cities where affordable housing is disappearing and working class people are being priced out. A campaign against the Whitechapel ‘poor door’ has seen weekly protests gather momentum over the past 3 months.

Initiated by Class War and taking place every Wednesday the demos have attracted the attention of both the police and also certain residents who have tipped water and other liquids out of the windows on the protestors. Also hitting the police who seem unwilling to take any action against them.

Saturday October 18th saw one of the biggest protests to date with nearly 100 people showing up many of them coming straight from the annual Anarchist Bookfair. The main road was blocked for a while after an attempt at getting into the building was thwarted.

Then came Wednesday November 5th with another large turnout of people bringing a smoking effigy of Boris Johnson. The smoke canisters appeared to set light to the effigy which burned in front of the entrance to the amusement of all present. Shortly after a particularly obnoxious male who claimed to be a resident of the block had to be escorted away by the police who took no action when he physically assaulted a woman holding a banner.

Then as the protest appeared to be winding down; the same woman was detained by the police, whom claimed she had been causing an obstruction. This allegation seemed completely spurious and designed to provoke the protestors who had been peaceful. Another man was then arrested for reasons that were unclear. Both arrests were viewed by all present as being an attempt at intimidating the demonstrators now in their 16th week outside 1 Commercial Street and showing no signs of letting up.

The organisers are calling for the next demonstration to be the biggest to date in solidarity with those who were arrested and assaulted last week.

6pm Wednesday Nov 12th

1 Commercial street E1 6BF

Photos from previous protests: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12)

Issue 42, Oct 2014

Reel News 42 front cover

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1) Gaza: demo outside the Israeli Embassy (Reel News) 4:36

With only a couple of days’ notice, thousands demonstrate against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

2) Gaza: National demonstration (Reel News) 7:10

Estimates of up to 100,000 people from all over the country express their anger at “Operation Protective Edge.

3) Uprising in Burgos (Jaime Alekos) 15:36

Spain: the working class district of Gamonal in Burgos stops the building of a luxury shopping mall with an astonishing uprising.

4) Gaza: Cabinet Office Occupied (Reel News) 5:08

London Palestine Action occupy the Cabinet Office in London, demanding that the sale of arms to Israel be stopped.

5) Gaza: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Occupied (Reel News) 4:34

London Palestine Action again, occupying the government department responsible for awarding contracts to arms sellers.

6) Iain Duncan Smith in the dock (Reel News) 6:39

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) hold a vigil as the DWP are summoned to the High Court over the Work Capability Assessment.

7) DPAC Occupation at Westminster Abbey (Indyrikki) 6:08

8) Gaza: Eyewitness Report (Reel News) 20:43

Award winning journalist Max Blumenthal gives a shocking eyewitness report of the results of OPeration Protective Edge.

9) Brixton Ritxy Strike: Python picket (Reel News) 6:49

The battle for the London Living Wage continues with a mass picket as the Ritzy cinema attempts to open on a strike day for the first time.

10) Banner Theatre: Orgreave (Reel News) 13:57

Powerful performance from the legendary Banner Theatre on the 30th anniversary of the Great Strike.

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Urban Futures occupied: Six month workfare no way!

On October 9, members of Haringey Solidarity Group and Boycott Workfare paid workfare provider Urban Futures in Wood Green a visit. Fifteen people occupied the office with banners and a soundsystem – challenging Urban Futures on their treatment of claimants and speaking to people on enforced jobsearch about their experiences and sharing info on their rights.
A number of claimants have complained about bullying and misreatment from Urban Futures management.If you want to speak to someone about how you’ve been treated, or join the campaign in Haringey, email or ring 07804 599 327.

Blacklisted workers assaulted during peaceful protest at Laing O’Rourke HQ

Blacklisted workers have made a complaint to Kent police after being assaulted during a peaceful protest at the Dartford headquarters of Laing O’Rourke. The incident happened at 1pm today (Wed 15th October) when 20 activists from the Blacklist Support Group attempted to distribute leaflets  about the role of the construction giant in the Consulting Association blacklisting conspiracy.

dave headlock

ISIS: Huge demonstration in London to support the Kurdish resistance in Kobane

Thousands of people march in London to support the Kurdish resistance in Kobane against ISIS. A lot of anger was directed towards Turkey, who are supporting ISIS militarily and logistically, but no-one wants an occupation by Western powers either. The Kurds can take care of ISIS on their own, if they are given the arms and humanitarian aid to do it – and the PKK need to be delisted as a terrorist organisation too.

Please publicise the following demands:

1) Turkey must open a “corridor” for Kurdish forces to equip themselves against ISIS.

2) Provide military and humanitarian aid to the Kurdish forces and civilians fighting ISIS.

3) Do not permit a “buffer zone” and “no fly zone” in Rojava.

4) Delist PKK, the organisation of the Kurdish foghters resisting against ISIS.

5) Coalition forces mst stop supporting ISIS and allowing it to grow.

6) Impose economic sanctions on states directly supporting ISIS, especially Turkey.

A week of resistance to the Gaza massacre

National demonstration in London called over the bombing of Gaza by Israeli forces. The protest called by the Stop the War Coalition, The Palestinian Soldidarity Campaign, CND, War on Want, BMI, IFE and Friends of Al Aqsa marcheds from Downing street to t

Across the world anger is growing over the constant bombardment of the Gaza strip by the Israeli Defense Forces. The Palestinian death toll has now reached over 400 as the densely populated Hamas controlled area is pounded by shells, missiles and guided bombs. Meanwhile the Israeli death toll after over 1,000 launches of Hamas’ near useless rockets remains at two. One of those being and Israeli soldier killed by his own side which exposes the lie about how “careful” they are being to avoid the deaths of innocent people.

Another source of great anger has been the outrageously biased coverage by most of the mainstream media. Media outlets like the BBC and CCN to name just a few insist on describing these events as a ‘war’ or a ‘conflict’ giving the impression of two equal sides. Gaza has no air force, no air defense and very little capacity to strike Israel as the body counts shows all too well. On Wednesday July 15th protesters took their disgust at the nature of the coverage directly to the BBC in central London.

Despite it being Ramadam thousands of mainly Muslim demonstrators blocked the main road outside of the BBC for several hours. The event remained peaceful with just one minor scuffle when police over stepped the mark trying to prevent people from boarding a stranded bus. They backed off and the vehicle reversed out away from the crowd. Two Zionists also showed up and demonstrated their jaw dropping arrogance by trying to argue down and increasingly hostile crowd. Well done to the demonstrators for refusing to be provoked.

On Friday July 18th activists tried a more direct approach to getting the attention of the UK government by occupying the Cabinet Office in Whitehall with the demand that the UK and others stop supplying arms and money to a rogue state that flouts international law on a daily basis.

It is no secret that Israel would neither be financially nor militarily viable were it not being armed and funded by the west to the tune of several million dollars a day. It is clear that only thing that will make Israel behave itself is intervention from its foreign sponsors.  Not that activists have high expectations from a government that favors Israel at every level. The blatant hypocrisy of the UK government who are turning a blind eye towards British Jews who are fighting with the IDF while arresting British Muslims who take action against the Assad regime in Syria is a recent case in point.

Finally on Saturday July 19th London saw its biggest anti war protest for many year with tens of thousands of people marching from Whitehall to the Israeli embassy.

The organisers claimed that over 100,000 people were in attendance while the BBC and Daily Mail both claimed that around 15,000 had participated. Whatever the actual figure it was clear that yet again a mostly Muslim m0bilisation had brought central London to standstill in blistering heat. During a time of year when most were fasting from sunrise for Ramadam.

It is clear that with a useless neocon like Tony Blair as Middle East peace envoy (what a sick joke!)  and  no sign of Israel growing a conscience any time soon, that the slaughter will continue. So are the protests expected to increase in their size and anger.

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