BLACKLIST: A new film by Lucy Parker
Due for completion 2018.
BLACKLIST is a new film being made by artist filmmaker Lucy Parker. It tells the story of the construction industry blacklist, which was operated in secret over many years to systematically deny work to thousands of workers involved in trade union activity. Unable to find work and without understanding why, the blacklist had detrimental effects on their lives creating paranoia, isolation and poverty, as well as health and safety risks on construction sites, as effective reps were excluded.
“Lucy Parker has been working hand in hand with blacklisted workers for a number of years. We have taken her into our hearts as one of us. It takes an artist to convey the emotional as well as the factual side of the story.”
Dave Smith, secretary of Blacklist Support Group
A list of left wing ‘troublemakers’ was started by the Economic League in 1919. When the league was dissolved in 1993 The Consulting Association was set up by directors of 14 major construction firms led by Sir Robert McAlpine, who bought the list of individuals related to the construction industry. Thirty member companies routinely used the ‘vetting service’ and fed information to the blacklist, often of a casual nature and referring to political activities outside of work. When uncovered in 2009 files on 3213 individuals were found. Lists from other industries have since been destroyed.
The Blacklist Support Group, set up by a group of construction workers has campaigned tirelessly since 2009 for justice, working with Unite, Ucatt and GMB Unions to pursue the companies responsible through the High Court. They have also worked closely with the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee on its enquiry into blacklisting. In 2016, 256 workers secured over £10 million in the high court, along with a public apology. The significance of which is tempered by the lack of legislative change or a criminal trial, and therefore by the threat that the practice of blacklisting will continue. They continue to campaign for a full public enquiry.
This film will bring the construction industry blacklist to the public attention, and act as a cautionary tale for employees of all industries. It demonstrates that we cannot expect employers to act in our best interests or for justice to prevail, and urges us to work together to protect our rights.
“Questions of surveillance and the rights to a private life are at the cutting-edge of documentary subjects – witness Citizenfour. Telling a shameful local story with chilling international implications, Blacklist will play a key part in this urgent conversation.”
Sophie Mayer, writer, editor, educator and activist
The film is being made by City Projects and filmmaker Lucy Parker. It will be shown widely at cinema screenings, community events, art galleries, film festivals and available on Video On Demand. It will be made freely available to campaigning groups. We have been awarded a grant from Arts Council England, but are relying on donations to make up a shortfall so that we can complete the film and get it out to widest possible audience. The film is due for completion by the end of 2017 when there will be a special screening to thank all donors.
You can donate HERE