Blacklisting: Justice campaigns unite in support of the Liverpool 3

The Blacklist Support Group demand an end to blacklisting at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium, joining forces with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, the Orgreave Truth & Justice Campaign and the Justice for Shrewsbury Pickets Campaign in a protest before the Liverpool Man U match. Carillion have refused to take on three workers known to have blacklist files for trade union activity, who have now become known as “The Liverpool 3”.

COPS: Pitchford Enquiry into undercover policing begins

On Wednesday October 7, the Pitchford Enquiry into undercover policing began at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) has brought together a number of groups and individuals who have been granted “core participant” status in the enquiry, who are all speaking with one voice: they want the truth about undercover policing in Britain and will not accept a whitewash.

It’s probably too much to expect justice from one arm of the state investigating another arm of the state, but at least a lot of the people who have been violated by the disgusting practises of undercover cops might find out the truth.  In the 6 minute video above, a number of activists detail their own experiences of being spied on.

Watch a talk from core participant Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group giving more detail:

and from Helen Steele, one of 8 women involved in a case against the police who had relationships with men they subsequently found out were undercover cops:

Reel News will be following the enquiry throughout  – keep checking back here, or like our Facebook page, for the latest developments.

Carillion Blacklisting Scandal: Liverpool traffic brought to a standstill

“I think this has got the capacity to be the biggest thing in this city since the dockers strike in 1997.” So said Roy Bentham, from the Blacklist Support Group, organisers of the direct action at the Royal Liverpool Hospital site which brought chaos to rush hour  traffic.

The dispute has erupted over the awarding of the hospital contract – a 5 year building contract costing £492 million – to notorious blacklisters Carillion, despite Liverpool Council having a policy of not awarding public contracts to known blacklisting companies.

Carillion have refused to employ any workers on the blacklist, despite being handed a list of names of currently available people. They are also ignoring national agreed rates for the job, people are working as bogus self-employed, and clauses in the contract for the number of apprenticeships and the amount of local labour employed are being completely flaunted.

Follow the Blacklist Support Group on Facebook for details about the next actions – or email them at

Major construction dispute erupts in Teesside

Mass pickets at the Wilton Centre, near Redcar bring traffic chaos and local approval as UNITE, GMB and UCATT members take joint action for the first time in 20 years. They are now on their 16th Friday of direct action and civil disobedience against the conditions on a new construction project, run by SITA UK.

SITA UK are exploiting foreign workers and marginalising local workers at the project by paying foreign workers as little as 6 – 8 euros an hour – way short of the £16.10 an hour they should be paying according to the NAECI national industry agreement.

The pickets are demanding that everyone is treated equally – pay the foreign workers the proper rate, and give the many experienced local workers a chance of employment. This is a major dispute – and in the words of one picket, “it needs to go national.”

Follow the campaign on Twitter: #PayTheRate

Issue 44, March 2015

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1) March For Homes (Reel News) 10:59 ***PLAY***

Thousands march on City Hall over the housing crisis, ending with anoccupation of the Aylesbury Estate.

2) National Gallery Strike (Reel News) 10:12

PCS members strike against privatisation and the victimisation of a leading rep.

3) 12 Bar Club Occupation (Reel News/FFRUK) 13:45

Bohemians 4 Soho resist the gentrification of Soho by occupying an iconic music venue.

4) Blacklisted: Official Trailer (Reel News) 3:10 ***PLAY***

The long awaited book on the illegal human rights of abuse of blacklisting is finally out.

5) Bailiffs Awards Dinner (Reel News) 2:28

Protestors give bailiffs a lively welcome as they meet for their annual awards dinner.

6) Camden Council: Pay A Living Wage! (Reel News) 8:06

School catering workers and care workers demand the London Living Wage from Labour controlled Camden Council.

7) Guinness Occupation (Reel News) 12:42

Tenants successfully resist the eviction of a disabled man.

8) A Different Kind of Tour: Belfast (Reel News/VfP) 21:26

An historic delegation of ex-soliders from Veterans for Peace meet ex-republican prisoners in Belfast.

9) A Different Kind of Tour: Pat Magee & Jo Berry (Reel News) 5:50

Veterans for Peace meet the man who planted the Brighton bomb and the daughter of an MP who was killed in the blast.

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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



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

Issue 41, July 2014

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1: Biomass: Emergency (Reel News) 24:42 ***PLAY***

Wood is being burned for energy in British power stations – and the process is as dangerous as fracking. Find out why, and what we can do about it.


2: Brixton Ritzy Strike (Reel News) 6:06

One of the most exciting new campaigns of the year, as cinema workers fight to win the London Living Wage.


3: Lambeth College Strike (Reel News) 13:01

UCU and UNISON members prepare for an all out indefinite strike against cuts to sick pay and holidays, and increased hours.


4: 3 Cosas – Recognition Now! (Reel News) 10:26

Outsourced workers at the University of London fight for recognition of their union, the IWGB, and to stop mass redundancies.


5: Sparks – Umbrella Scam (Reel News) 6:06

Electricians take direct action against the “Umbrella Scam”, which will mean construction workers employed by agencies losing 20-25% of their take home pay.


6: TfL strike (Reel News) 4:19

TSSA, RMT and UNITE members take strike action together for the first time against cuts that could mean losing tens of thousands of pounds in wages.


7: PCS Green Forum (Reel News) 19:15

Workshops on climate jobs, fracking, fuel poverty, aviation, rail, flood prevention, attacks on the forestry commission, tax evasion and greening the workplace.

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Issue 40, Apr 2014

Reel News 40

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1: Massacre in Vitoria (Reel News) 36:43 ***PLAY***

1976, the Basque Country: a dying fascist state orders police to attack one of the greatest rank and file movements ever seen. 5 workers are murdered and over 100 seriously injured; 38 years on, the people of Vitoria are still fighting for justice.


2: SOAS cleaners strike (Reel News) 14:07

Cleaners at SOAS show how a picket line should be done in the fight to be brought back in-house.


3: Blacklisting Companies Meeting (Stewart Hume, electrician and UNITE activist) 3:50

EXCLUSIVE secret footage exposes the building firm bosses who blacklist.


4: Blacklisting: Citizens Arrest (Reel News) 5:31

The Blacklist Support Group serve an arrest warrant on Cullum McAlpine.


5: Leon Rosselson: Sixty Quid a Week (Reel News) 4:30

New song from Leon about an encounter with a homeless person.


6: NUT strike (Reel News) 10:28

First national strike by teachers since 2011 as the campaign to stop Gove destroying education hots up.


7: David Rovics – Landlord (Reel News) 6:10

Great song and a slice of US working class history.


8: Chicago University Strike (Labor Beat) 8:36

2 days strike by lecturers at the University of Illinois-Chicago – for virtually the same reasons that lecturers are striking in Britain.


9: London Met – FE Strike (Reel News) 5:47

Rally at London Met to push for further action in the dispute over pay.


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