Vince Cable asked to intervene in blacklisting scandal

MPs are calling on Vince Cable to agree a full-scale probe into blacklisting in the construction industry, following allegations by the Unite union, that it is still taking place.

The Commons' Scottish affairs committee says London's £14.5bn Crossrail project – which is run by a consortium including BAM, Ferrovial and Kier – should be investigated after it heard "compelling evidence" of blacklisting of construction workers.

The committee has been taking evidence from the building industry and unions and its chairman, Ian Davidson, has written to Business Secretary Vince Cable to express his concerns.

Davidson said: “Our inquiry so far has raised more questions than it has answered, particularly around compensation for all those who were affected, and what penalties should be imposed on those who engaged in blacklisting. But the big question that remains is, is this egregious practice actually still going on? Are people still being systematically, unfairly discriminated against in this way? “

The committee's decision to request that the business secretary undertakes a thorough investigation is a result of evidence given by Unite and will give hope to many thousands of construction workers who have suffered blacklisting at the hands of employers.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “We urge the business secretary to agree to the committee’s request to undertake a thorough investigation. It is unacceptable that contractors working on high profile projects should be allowed to get away with these activities without intervention from the government.

She added: “an investigation by the government would be a significant milestone for the victims’ campaign for justice – we urge Vince Cable to act without delay and respond with a Leveson style inquiry.”

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