A GROUP of campaigners alleging blacklisting in Britain’s construction industry staged a protest against the firm redeveloping Anfield’s main stand ahead of Liverpool FC’s Premier League fixture on Sunday.
Over 100 members of the Blacklist Support Group (BSG), many of whom held banners and placards, gathered outside the ground as the Merseyside club hosted Manchester United.
The protest took place just days before the hearing continues at London’s High Court this Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of the 12-week trial in May.
Carillion is one of eight construction firms, including Irish-run company Laing O’Rourke, accused of holding more than 3,000 names in total, including those of Irish workers, on an illegal blacklist.
In addition, reference cards containing allegations against workers over their political affiliations and trade union membership were also allegedly held.
The BSG are calling on Liverpool FC to reconsider its contract with Carillion for the expansion of the main stand at Anfield.
Secretary for the BSG, Dave Smith told The Irish Post: “Blacklisting is still on going, it’s nonsense that Carillion are saying that it doesn’t exist. We’ve had meetings with Liverpool to try and change their minds over using Carillion but we haven’t got very far.
"There are a huge number of season ticket holders who have been blacklisted. Football is a working class game. At least three workers who were previously blacklisted re-sent their CVs to projects at Anfield and the Royal Liverpool Hospital and have had no luck.”
Liverpool FC conducted a meeting with representatives of the BSG in November, where concerns were raised over the use of Carillion in the stadium’s redevelopment.
It is understood that the club reviewed the documentation provided by the group and were satisfied with Carillion’s responses, but when contacted by The Irish Post following the protest at Anfield on Sunday, no one was available for comment.
The BSG’s campaign has received backing by Liverpool-born Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
“As a Liverpool supporter I want the club to urgently engage with the Blacklist Support Group who have been very vocal and loyal supporters to the club over the years,” he said.
“They have been unfairly blacklisted by Carillion and deserve a proper response from Liverpool FC”.
Campaigners protest about ‘blacklisting’ firm building Liverpool FC’s main stand https://t.co/nMauzsFtJa
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) January 17, 2016
Carillion has denied the allegations of blacklisting since details of the construction industry blacklist emerged in 2009, following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Officer on the premises of The Consulting Association.
“Carillion does not partake in or condone blacklisting. Claims that the company was involved in this practice date back more than a decade and relate to a former subsidiary business which Carillion sold in 2004,” a Carillion spokesperson said.
“We are aware of the protest by the Blacklist Support Group at Liverpool Football Club on Sunday. Carillion is very proud of the work it is carrying out on the main stand extension at Anfield and the number of opportunities the project is creating for local businesses and people through employment, apprenticeships and training.”
More than 600 construction workers whose names appeared on the industry-wide blacklist could potentially obtain damages, which could total tens of millions of pounds.
The substantial pay out would follow the admission by some of Britain’s biggest construction firms that they defamed workers and breached their confidence.