Put Mark Thomas tickets on the list

Comedian Mark Thomas
Comedian Mark Thomas
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TV’s original comedy guerilla brings his own shrewd take on governmental and corporate exploitation to Lancaster this December.

Mark Thomas is well versed in the art of creative mayhem and over the years his troublemaking has changed laws, cost companies millions and annoyed those who most deserved it.

Now he returns to what he does best, mischief – joyously bad behaviour with a purpose at the Dukes on Thursday, December 12.

After his award winning show Bravo Figaro, Mark sets himself the task of committing 100 Acts Of Minor Dissent in the space of a year.

Mark catalogues everything from the smallest and silliest gesture to the grandest confrontations and the results are subversive, hilarious, mainly legal, and occasionally inspiring.

It is this spirit that this week he discovered has led to him being blacklisted.

The comedian spoke of his anger after discovering that his name had been added to a blacklist drawn up for construction companies.

He said he was “shocked” to find he had been included on secret files of thousands of mainly building workers. Most do not know they were on the list. Thomas’s name was found by the GMB union, which is pursuing compensation on behalf of members and others, such as environmental activists.

The comedian said: “I wasn’t massively surprised, but I was shocked. I don’t work in the construction industry, although I have been involved in campaigns against the activities of building firms.

“To include a comic in all of this is just nuts.”

Thomas said he suspected the police colluded with construction firms to collect information.

He said: “This needs to be highlighted and the police held to account. There has to be a proper investigation, a parliamentary inquiry, to make sure this kind of behaviour is outlawed.”

His case is being taken up by the GMB. Last week major construction firms announced plans to compensate workers on the blacklist.

The development followed years of campaigning by unions after it emerged more than 3,200 names of workers were kept on a file created by the Consulting Association.

Workers involved said they were denied work, often merely for raising legitimate concerns about health and safety on building sites.

Chris Benson, from law firm Leigh Day, who is representing Mark Thomas and more than 100 GMB members, said: “We continue to receive huge amounts of files from the Information Commissioner’s office on behalf of our clients, which documents the scale unlawful activity which took place against members of GMB and others who were kept on this blacklist, and whose livelihoods suffered through this illegal activity.

“While news eight of the companies involved are considering a compensation scheme is positive, we continue to seek redress through the courts for those whose lives were blighted by t being put on this list, often for just speaking out about valid concerns, or, in the case of Mr Thomas, no reason whatsoever.”

Have you or anyone you know been on the secret blacklist? Send emails to alan.burrows@lep.co.uk