Victory! Construction Giants Pay For Blacklisting

BLACKLISTING companies were shamed into paying out millions on May 9th to the workers whose lives they ruined in a historic victory for trade unionists.

Eight major construction firms concluded a lengthy court battle with an 11th-hour increase in compensation.

The total sum paid out by Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci Construction is estimated at £50 million on top of their £200m legal costs.

And the disgraced companies, which colluded in a blacklist of more than 3,000 construction workers, will also make a public apology tomorrow to be read out in open court.

Compensation sums can only now be fully disclosed after construction union Unite agreed to settle an increased amount for its members.

Blacklist Support Group campaign secretary and blacklisted worker Dave Smith called the High Court action a “historic victory for the trade union movement against the vicious face of free-market capitalism.”

However, he said: “These fat cats and their friends in the police took food off of our children’s table, causing years of family hardship.

“We take this personally and a few quid and a mealy-mouthed apology is a long way from justice.

“We intend to continue our fight to expose those who orchestrated and colluded with blacklisting. In any civilised society, the wretches would be in jail by now.”

Unite confirmed it has secured more than £10m for its 256 blacklisted workers after agreeing to an extra £4m for 97 of its claimants.

Individual payouts range from £25,000 to £200,000 per claimant depending on the amount of lost income and the seriousness of the defamation.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said the massive scale of the agreed damages showed “the gravity of the misdeeds” of these major construction companies.

“The sums to be paid out go a considerable way to acknowledge the hurt, suffering and loss of income our members and their families have been through over many years,” the trade union leader said.

“Under the agreement they can once more apply for jobs in the construction industry without fear of discrimination.

“This settlement is a clear statement on behalf of the trade union movement that never again can such nefarious activities be allowed to happen against decent working people trying to earn an honest living in a tough industry.”

Ucatt confirmed it had won £8.9m on behalf of 156 members.

“This is the largest ever compensation payment won by this union on behalf of our members,” said acting general secretary Brian Rye.

“The payouts members have received go a small way to compensating them for the hurt and loss that they and their families suffered over many years.”

GMB has confirmed it has secured £5.4m for 116 members.

“We are absolutely delighted that all of the blacklisting claimants have achieved generous settlements and a full apology from the blacklisting companies,” said GMB general secretary Tim Roache.

Blacklisters have also agreed to issue guidance to site managers to ensure that blacklisting does not occur and that trade unionists receive treatment for job applications that is no less favourable than for their co-workers.

The scandal was blown open when list-keeper the Consulting Association was raided by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009.

Officials found the association had been keeping a blacklist of construction workers who had been active trade unionists and included those who had raised legitimate health and safety concerns.

Unite legal services director Howard Beckett said the association’s secret vetting operation broke the Employment Relations Act 1999 (Blacklist) Regulations 2010.

“This is the core reason as to why these companies should be answerable to a public inquiry and why the Westminster and the devolved governments should continue to ask serious questions of these companies before they are engaged for public contracts,” he said.

Originally published (Morning Star)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.