UNION members staged a protest at Richmond Castle against a council using a construction company that has previously blacklisted workers.

Unite the Union held the demonstration on Thursday in reaction to Richmondshire District Council holding contracts with Kier Group.

Chris Styles, from Unite, said: “Richmondshire District Council has awarded contracts to the building firm Kier – despite the fact it is known to have been involved in blacklisting in the past.

“That is a worry for workers in the Richmondshire area and we want to make sure they are protected.”

He said the union had written to the council to voice concerns that contracts should not be given to known blacklisters and asked that the council address the matter.

He said: “The council has received a letter from us outlining our concerns but they did not get back to us positively.”

But Colin Dales, director for housing at Richmondshire District Council, said he had not seen any correspondence from the union and was unaware of the protest.

“I have not seen anything, and if it had been addressed to our chief executive it would have been passed to me.

“We have had no communications with Unite but if there is an issue over any of our contracts we would be happy to look into concerns.”

A spokeswoman from Kier said: “The activities of the now disbanded Consulting Association are both historic and clearly regrettable.

“Kier co-operated fully with the investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009. Having concluded its investigation and issued Kier Limited (as well as 13 other construction companies) with an enforcement notice, the ICO has taken no further action against Kier in respect of the matter.

“Kier does not condone any form of blacklisting.”