Police admit to collusion in blacklisting, paving the way for claims by up to 40,000 workers

Police Blacklisting
Tom Coburg

The Metropolitan Police Service (Met) has admitted to collusion in the blacklisting of workers (for their union activities or political beliefs). But the full truth of what may be the greatest anti-worker scandal of modern times is yet to be revealed. And the victims are yet to be compensated. Now, the GMB trade union has issued a demand that the Met publish its secret report into this collusion.

Police admission

In a letter responding to allegations that the police, including special branches, supplied information that appeared on the blacklist, Met deputy assistant commissioner Richard Martin states:

on the balance of probabilities, the allegation that the police or Special Branches supplied information is ‘Proven’.

Indeed, in October 2013, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) suggested that police colluded in The Consulting Association (TCA) construction industry blacklist, saying it was “likely that all special branches were involved in providing information”.

What is already known is that Gordon Mills, a former chief inspector with the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), notoriously attended a meeting of TCA. And here is a leaked copy of notes [pdf] from that meeting.

Economic League

Martin’s letter added:

Sections of the policing community throughout the UK had both overt and covert contact with external organization, including the Economic League

This reference to the Economic League (EL) is significant because it shows that police collusion goes back decades (diagram courtesy of Spies At Work):

Economic Leagie history


To date, the blacklist scandal has seen more than £75m in compensation paid to 700 workers by major contractors. But that was only to construction workers who were blacklisted by TCA, which continued the work of the Economic League (EL) after it collapsed.

It is suspected that many CA blacklist files were destroyed. And sworn testimony of Mary Kerr (wife of Ian Kerr, who ran TCA) confirmed [pdf, p3] that the blacklists related to the EL Services Group were sold for £10,000 to TCA.

One person blacklisted by the EL was construction worker (now actor) Ricky Tomlinson. Tomlinson and 23 other people were arrested for picketing in Shrewsbury. In August 2016, Tomlinson brandished part of the EL’s North-West blacklist on Channel 4 News.

Ricky Tomlinson

The Canary has access to that and other EL lists, and the next day published Tomlinson’s entry (real name Eric Tomlinson):

EL file on Ricky Tomlinson

Offer of help

In the interim, nothing has been done about this scandal. Yet over several decades, an estimated 40,000 workers were blacklisted by around 700 companies [pdf] that subscribed to the EL. That’s potentially 40,000 compensation claims.

Here is an extract from an EL card file on a ‘militant’:

Should a legal firm decide to pursue such claims against either the companies that subscribed to the EL blacklists or the police who colluded with the EL, then The Canary will provide copies of those blacklists and other internal EL documents.

Featured image via screengrab

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