The Employment Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 (Blacklists) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014 (“the Regulations”) will come into operation on 6 April 2014.
They are being introduced to prohibit the use of ‘blacklists’ in respect of employees or potential employees.
The Regulations cannot be avoided by employers instructing employment agencies to vet employees, as the Regulations provide that employment agencies cannot refuse to provide their services because an individual appears on a blacklist.
Construction union UCATT has warned that new anti-blacklisting regulations in Northern Ireland won’t end the disgraceful practice, as they are too weak to be effective.
According to UCATT, the regulations do not make blacklisting a specific criminal offence and they only prevent workers from being blacklisted for undertaking the narrowly defined “trade union activities”.
UCATT said it is feared that workers could be blacklisted for undertaking unofficial industrial action which could include stopping work due to safety concerns or a refusal to work voluntary overtime.
UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy said: “These regulations are too weak to stamp out the disgusting practice of blacklisting. Blacklisting is a repulsive secretive practice which is difficult to detect. Only very strong effective laws will act as a true deterrent to employers who are prepared to blacklist workers.”