Blacklisted Workers’ Compensation Scheme On Brink Of Breakdown

2 Jun 2014

Talks between GMB and lawyers representing construction employers on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers are on the brink of breaking down over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. Progress had been made on the shape of the compensation process. However talks are now deadlocked with the employers proposing a cost envelope for the fast track compensation scheme that GMB estimates will cost these employers between £15m and £20m. This is less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms in the talks. Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

In October 2013 eight blacklisting companies (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC) announced that they were setting up The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) to compensate the victims they blacklisted. Pinsents Masons represent the eight blacklisting companies. GMB has been in talks with them on the scheme. So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist. 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions. Several hundred of these 467 are covered by claims in the High Court. ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files.  That leaves 1,489 still to trace. On 15th April the ICO said: “We don’t plan to write out to any more people, as we believe we’ve written to everyone who we can be sure of having up-to-date details for.” On 27th November 2013 particulars of claim were served in the High Court in the GMB legal action against Carillion and other for blacklisting GMB members. The next hearing is due on 10 July 2014.

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said “The GMB Central Executive Council has been updated on progress in the talks which are now on the brink of breaking down.  GMB consider that the main stumbling block is the amount of compensation being offered to the victims of blacklisting in whatever form that took. The total current cash envelope for fast track compensation we estimate is between £15m and £20m. That is less than £3m per company. This is grossly inadequate to deal with the devastating damage inflicted on people in their working lives and the colossal invasion of their privacy.
This compensation offer is not an act of contrition, it is a PR stunt. My advice is that the companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter. The eight companies between them have a turnover of over £34 billion and pre-tax profits of £1.04 billion. The talks should not break down over the size of the cash envelope. The employers have to own up, clean up and pay up.”
For people to identify more names on the blacklist, please call Phil Read at GMB on 07840 897997 or email him .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Contact Dave Smith 07882 579452 re Blacklist Support Group