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Blacklist allegations spark new inquiry

A committee of MPs is to hold fresh hearings into blacklisting after new allegations that union members are being denied work in the construction industry.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee, which has been conducting an inquiry into the issue, is to look into new revelations of a secret register of workers.

A programme shown on Danish TV last week said international employment agency Atlanco Rimec, which has an office in Northampton, was blacklisting workers who joined a trade union.

Those who complained about pay, or joined a union, were not given further work, it was claimed. It follows the discovery of a blacklist of more than 3000 workers in the UK five years ago.

The select committee made a series of recommendations in a previous report, including calls for compensation from companies which used the blacklist before they were considered for public contracts, and direct employment in the industry, with less use of agency workers.

Committee chair Ian Davidson (Labour/Co-op, Glasgow South West) said: "We are very disappointed that the Government has rejected our recommendation for direct employment on all publicly-funded construction projects and for transparent recruitment and employment practices."

Steve Murphy, general secretary of construction union Ucatt, said: "The latest allegations demonstrate why direct employment and cutting down the use of agencies is vital to stamping out this practice."

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