Limerick City Council members formally oppose ‘blacklisting’

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Council opposition: Cllr Tom Shortt
LIMERICK City Council has formally opposed the practice of ‘blacklisting’, which has seen trade union members miss out on work.

LIMERICK City Council has formally opposed the practice of ‘blacklisting’, which has seen trade union members miss out on work.

At this month’s council meeting, members unanimously backed a motion by Labour councillor Tom Shortt where the local authority “publicly affirms its opposition” to the practice, which “victimises workers on the grounds of trade union membership and legitimate trade union activity”.

The motion, seconded by Sinn Fein’s Maurice Quinlivan, called for stronger legislating to outlaw blacklisting, and to deny public contracts to any employer engaging in it.

Cllr Shortt, a member of the ASTI union for secondary school teachers, said: “There is no more suitable time for this than now: it is the centenary of the 1919 lockout where workers were refused permission to be in a trade union. Unfortunately, many people in the union movement who want to stay there will know about blacklisting.”

Unite is running a campaign against blacklisting, and is urging the support of all local authorities.

SIPTU member Cllr Quinlivan said: “There are anecdotal stories of workers being blacklisted from work.”

Mike McNamara, president of the Limerick Trades Council welcomed the motion, saying: “Members of a trade union will not wear their heart on their sleeve, because of the fact if it is known, the company may orchestrate a way of getting them out of employment.”

This, he argues, leads to a “race to the bottom” in terms of workers conditions.

“We have worked for a number of years as part of the Contract of Employment task group we have set up in the City Council to prevent this,” he added.