COUNCIL bosses have backed a call for a public inquiry into the blacklisting of construction workers.

A motion by Councillors Jim Montgomerie and Joe Cullinane was unanimously supported by all 30 councillors at a full meeting of North Ayrshire Council last Wednesday (June 17).

It was revealed that 67 people in North Ayrshire had suffered from blacklisting – a higher total than many other local authorities.

The motion came after the publication of the final report by the Scottish Affairs Committee into the blacklisting of trade unionists, environmentalists, health and safety campaigners and ordinary workers.

And the SNP administration agreed to fully support a Scottish public inquiry into blacklisting when questioned by the Labour councillors.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Montgomerie said: “The recent Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry showed that some construction companies used a blacklist to effectively bar workers from employment for daring to raise workplace issues, including health and safety issues, and being active trade unionists.

“The number of Scots blacklisted is disproportionately higher than in the rest of the UK, with 67 in North Ayrshire which is higher than much bigger local authorities including our capital city Edinburgh, and with the Tories likely to refuse to hold a UK-wide inquiry, it’s time that the SNP support one in Scotland and take real action against this disgraceful practice.” Kilwinning Councillor Cullinane added: “Not only should the Scottish Government hold a public inquiry into blacklisting, they should also reconsider their approach to procurement, as it appears that companies whose central organisations have been named in the Scottish Affairs Committee as using the Consulting Association to operate the blacklist continue to be awarded public contracts, despite the SNP claiming they have taken steps to prevent it.

“In North Ayrshire alone we have at least three major infrastructure projects being built by companies named in the Scottish Select Affairs Committee report.

“This includes the new Garnock school campus, the new hospital at Ayrshire Central in Irvine and the Montrose House care home on Arran – a contract won through the South West Hub set up by the SNP Government and officially opened last Monday by the SNP Health Secretary.”