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Labour bans Carillion from conference exhibition

The Labour Party has banned Carillion from exhibiting at its national conference over its involvement in blacklisting.

The party’s governing body, the National Executive, voted to exclude the firm from the exhibition hall at the event, which starts on Sunday. The space has now been given to trade union the GMB.

A Carillion subsidiary, Crown House Engineering, used the Consulting Association’s blacklist until early 2004. The blacklisting scandal came to light following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009.

A spokesman for Carillion said: “Carillion has been open with MPs and the public in talking about its historic involvement with the Consulting Association, which we proactively stopped in 2004. We are therefore surprised and disappointed by this decision and we struggle to understand how blocking discussion on difficult issues helps resolve them. It is a backward step and a missed opportunity for members to meet a major UK employer working in vital public services.

“Our chief executive, Richard Howson, has expressed regret for the past involvement of a former subsidiary, but it is important to understand that Carillion has never been involved with activity that was illegal.”

The motion was put to the National Executive by two of its members, Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram and Jim Kennedy national political officer of trade union UCATT.

UCATT will donate £11,000 to the party to cover loss of revenue from the stand.

Another trade union, the GMB, will use the space to lobby Labour councillors to exclude Carillion and other firms accused of blacklisting from public contracts until they admit past behaviour, put measures in place to prevent it recurring and compensate those blacklisted.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “The Labour Party must be applauded for kicking Carillion out of the exhibition hall at its conference.”

He added: “For any worker to be represented by a trade union in their workplace is a civil right that must be protected to the highest level, with new legislation backed by imprisonment and unlimited fines for anyone who interferes with it. For the Labour Party, these should be bread and butter manifesto commitments right now.”

Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “I am delighted that the NEC has agreed to bar Carillion from exhibiting at Labour Party Conference.”

“Blacklisting is a nasty, vicious and secretive practice. Until those responsible both apologise and pay compensation to their victims they should be barred from the democratic process.”

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