Blacklisted workers meet inquiry chair

Blacklisted workers are today meeting with Sir John Mitting, the judge in charge of the Undercover Policing public inquiry.

The private meeting follows on from the recent confirmation by the Metropolitan Police that Special Branch provided information about trade union members to the unlawful construction industry  blacklist.

The meeting will be attended by the Blacklist Support Group, Unite, the FBU and their legal teams, all of whom are core participants from the union strand of the public inquiry.

The purpose of the meeting is for the blacklisted workers to raise their concerns about the direction the public inquiry is going and highlight the areas they feel are essential for the inquiry to investigate.

Frank Smith, blacklisted bricklayer and core participant, said: “There are some questions we need answers to:

  • how many trade unions were infiltrated by undercover police officers?
  • what happened to the intelligence gathered by the police spies after it was received by Special Branch?
  • was the information about trade union members and political activists shared with employers and used for blacklisting?
  • who made the decisions about the deployment of undercover officers?
  • which senior officers and which politicians knew?

“If the inquiry doesn’t give us the answers to these questions, what’s the point of us continuing to participate in what is shaping up to be an establishment cover-up?”

There is also considerable disquiet amongst trade unions participating in the public inquiry because despite being the victims of undercover political policing, the unions are having to pay their own legal costs throughout the entire public inquiry which has so far been running for three years without hearing a single day of witness evidence.

The police units who were the perpetrators of the human rights violations under investigation get 100% of their legal costs paid for from taxpayers’ money.

Mitting has been severely criticised by the victims of undercover policing, who staged a mass walk out from the public inquiry in March 2018 following a series of decisions in which the judge agreed to provide blanket anonymity to a large number of the undercover officers responsible for committing human rights violations whilst spying to trade unions, family justice campaigns and other political groups.

Imran Khan QC, representing the Blacklist Support Group said: “We welcome the opportunity to meet the chair to discuss the concerns of our clients and to provide answers to the very many questions they have. It is imperative for the success of this Inquiry that this meeting provides our clients with confidence in the Chair and we hope that this is the start of that process”.

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