Police apology must lead to justice for blacklisted workers

Unite has welcomed the ‘unreserved apology’ from the Metropolitan Police to the seven women duped into relationships with undercover police officers specially assigned to infiltrate politically active groups or causes. The union said that the time has now come for those responsible for the Special Demonstration Squad to acknowledge its role in destroying the lives of dozens of blacklisted men and women working in construction and associate industries. The union was speaking out after the Met announced a settlement deal with the women. Martin Hewitt, the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, said: “Thanks in large part to the courage and tenacity of these women in bringing these matters to light it has become apparent that some officers, acting undercover whilst seeking to infiltrate protest groups, entered into long-term intimate sexual relationships with women which were abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong.” Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “At long last, we are arriving at the truth regarding the disturbing scale of these covert activities and an acceptance that there was an organised and appalling misuse of police officers to spy on UK citizens. We have long been concerned that this misuse of the police extended to the workplace where ‘rogue’ employers developed a blacklist of construction workers and others who were union members.” She added: “We are also fully aware of, at least, one police official who posed as a construction worker and union activist in order to be a surveillance source for employers and the state… It is, therefore, vital that the Metropolitan Police fully acknowledges its connivance in the ‘blacklisting’ operation in order that we can both clean up current day problems and then move swiftly to full justice and compensation for those men and women who were denied a livelihood simply because they were members of a union or active in a cause.” She said: “These workers have spent a working lifetime fighting for that justice. Further delay in delivering it to them is yet another scandal in the making.”