Blacklisted: the book – Official Trailer

Film length: 3:11

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