Last week Neil Findlay, MSP, revealed in Parliament the name of the woman who he described as the link between the construction company Costain and the blacklisting outfit, the Consulting Association. But Ms Burton was not the only link. There were three others involved. They were Trevor Spice, Geoff Hughes and Ken Ward (all based at Costain’s Maidenhead office). Here is a copy of a handwritten list by Ian Kerr (who managed the Consulting Association) that names the three, as well as the main contacts for all the construction companies.
“Today, under the privilege that this Parliament gives me, I can name Gayle Burton, who is a former head of human resources at the Costain construction company, who now works for the Jockey Club and who has been identified as the key link between the construction industry, the Consulting Association and Special Branch. Her name is identified as the source of information on files of blacklisted Scottish workers.” statement by Neil Findlay MSP in Scottish Parliament.
Meanwhile, here, courtesy of the GMB trade union, is more on Gayle Burton:
On 135 workers files [kept by the Consulting Association] the following note was added: 3228 (G.B) may hold further details Do not divulge any of above – refer first. 3228 is the code used by the Consulting Association for Costain UK Ltd; G.B. is Gayle Burton.
- A carpenter from Southampton was put on the blacklist by John Dangerfield of Balfour Beatty with the following note: ‘Very bad news – Buddhist – will close site’. An additional note stated that Gayle Burton ‘may hold further details, Do not divulge any of above – refer first.’
- In 1999 Gayle Burton had ‘positively identified one of the 4 members of JSC featured in BBC1 “Workers at War” video.’ The note made on this bricklayers file was that he was the ‘Reddish-Haired of the 4.’
- In 1990 a bricklayer was blacklisted for organising a ‘petition with UCATT over homelessness.’ In 1992 Gayle Burton added onto the file that he ‘was seen on JSC’s unlawful picket site at VASCROFT site in London.’ In 1997, while employed on a Costain site in London he was ‘moved with 2 others (to avoid suspicion) onto another contract.’
- A Rigger from Glamorgan was put onto the blacklist in 1979 as he was known to ‘associate with extreme left wing organisations.’ 24 years later in 2003 he applied to Costain’s Oil & Gas division at the Barrow Power Station Project. Despite the main contact being given the details ‘stressing age of information’, Costain did not employ him.
- A Thermal Insulation Engineer from Hartlepool was blacklisted in 1995 for being a Shop Steward on a power station site. In 2003 he applied to Costain ‘at their Gas & Oil Division contract at Barrow Power Station.’ The main contact was given details and he was not employed.
- In 1994 a Labourer who was living in London had the following on his blacklist file: ‘Official enquiries resulted in removal from site back to country of origin by special request.’ Two months later an entry states: ‘Believed back in GB from the south as nothing could be proved. Any enquiries, 3228 (Costain) will supply further details.’
- A Carpenter from London was blacklisted in 1970 and was ‘name checked’ 54 times up until 1988. In 1996 he had the additional note added to his file of ‘Gayle Burton may hold further details, Do not divulge any of above – refer first.’
- One worker was blacklisted in 1996 with the following comment: ‘Migratory habits watched with interest. Help appreciated.’ He applied to work on the Jubilee Line Joint Venture but was not employed. His file states ‘”Official Reason” for not employing.’ Gayle Burton added the following comment to his file: ‘Keeps extremely interesting company – known member of certain factions.’
- A worker from The Wirral was blacklisted by Costain in 1993 for being a ‘mouthpiece at union meetings. Agreed with everything union representative raised.’ Still blacklisted despite the next point on the file ‘Good skill quality.’
- One worker from Liverpool had the following added to his file by Gayle Burton: ‘recently seen at a Left Wing meeting……believed to be back in London after returning to the North following previous period in London.’
- A rigger from Ayrshire was blacklisted in 1978. Despite an entry in 1998 stating he was ‘a good employee’ he applied to work on Costain’s Gas & Oil Division contract at Barrow Power Station but ‘Main contact given details, stressing date of original information.’ He was not employed.
- A person was blacklisted in 1999 by Gayle Burton for ‘leafleting from the street at Costain’s Uxbridge Shopping Centre site, against sub-contractor Irvine-Whitcocks health & safety record.’ She then pointed out that he was ‘not known via official channels.’
- Further details that Gayle Burton had, or could get hold of, included workers put on the blacklist with the following descriptions: Morning Star – picket organiser;Across the Water Membership; Aggro!!!; Possible troublemaker; Irish. Ex-army. Bad egg!!; Do not employ under any circumstances!; Laings were glad to make him redundant; Born Belfast. Troublemaker; and Large family in Kent. Troublesome!