Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
July 4, 2012

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Complaint lodged with professional body over members’ involvement in blacklisting

A pressure group acting on behalf of workers blacklisted by construction companies has lodged a formal complaint with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), alleging “serious professional misconduct” by five of the Institute’s members.

The Blacklist Support Group filed the complaint under the human-resources body’s ‘Code of Professional Conduct’, which was newly published at the beginning of this week (1 July). The Group claims that the Code has been breached by senior HR personnel at a number of well-known construction companies, in that they “actively participated” in providing information on behalf of these companies to the Consulting Association, which ran an illegal database on trade-union members in the construction industry.

This led to the introduction of new legislation to outlaw blacklisting (Blacklisting of Trade Unionists Regulations 2010) and the admission by several leading construction firms that they had used the secret database.

According to the Blacklist Support Group’s complaint, Gerry Harvey – director of HR at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd, Elaine Gallagher – HR manager at the same company, Liz Keates – head of HR at Carillion Health, John Edwards – a manager at Carillion, and David Cochrane – former head of HR at Sir Robert McAlpine, all “either attended meetings, or covertly supplied personal data on trade-union members to the secret blacklist, which was used to systematically deny work to 3200 individuals”.

All five were named as part of witness statements given to Tribunals involving workers whose details had been supplied to the Consulting Association, and who were blacklisted by construction firms as a result. They were also named by Dave Smith, of the Blacklist Support Group, in his oral evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee in June.

The Group believes the activities of the five senior HR managers were in breach of four sections of their professional body’s Code by, among other things, failing to “act in a way which supports and upholds the reputation of the profession” and by “encouraging, assisting, or colluding with others who may be engaged in unlawful conduct”.

Added the Group: “There is a mountain of documentary evidence that senior HR managers in the construction industry have been involved in systematic human-rights abuse over a period of decades. Their misconduct has been a stain on the reputation of the profession. It is time that the CIPD carries out a full disciplinary investigation into the role played by its members.”

A spokesperson for the CIPD told SHP that it is aware of the allegations and, while it is unable to comment on actual procedures, it said it “will investigate and act accordingly” should the standard of ethical behaviour and conduct expected of its members be found wanting. The Institute also intends to publish – on an annual basis – details of cases brought under its new Code and decisions handed down.

Related Topics

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 years ago

I agree Pete.
I would go further. The compensation should be equivelent to that employees current level wages including pension contributions until the individual retires – regardless of whether or not they have managed to find a job before then!

11 years ago

Just imagine any employee making slanderous remarks about some of these people their feet wouldn’t touch the ground they’d be shown the door. Yet these people are allowed to ruin people lives & that’s supposed to be acceptable . They should be sacked & made to compensate the families whose lives they’ve ruined in many cases.

11 years ago

When will the people who run these companies involved in these events, be made to take responsible for the people they employ. The law should be used.

11 years ago

The companies headhunt “the people they employ”because its who they are.