High Court Reject Blacklisters Bid

11 Jun 2014

High Court Rejects Application By Employers To Unilaterally Proceed With Inadequate Blacklisting Compensation Scheme.

A cheap under-funded compensation PR stunt will not wash so companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter says GMB.

The High Court yesterday (10th June) rejected an application by blacklisting employers to take the next step to unilaterally proceed with a wholly inadequate compensation scheme for 3,214 blacklisted workers.

Last week GMB said that talks with lawyers representing construction employers on a compensation scheme were on the brink of breaking down over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. See notes to editors for copy of GMB release.

The 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.” See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.

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.

Maria Ludkin, GMB National Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer, said “ GMB is delighted that the High Court judge seems to have had enough of lawyers for the employers continuing secret and unorthodox applications to the Court.

In particular the judge commented that the efforts of the employer’s lawyers to contact legally represented blacklisted workers probably amounted to a breach of the Law Society Professional Code of Conduct.

The lawyers for the employers have used every trick in the book to trample on the legal rights of our members. We are delighted that their latest efforts to sell their cheap low cost PR scheme as a genuine attempt to compensate blacklisted workers has been squashed in the Courts.

Legally represented blacklisted workers are likely to get a much better settlement through the Courts.

The judge has rightly dovetailed the operation of the compensations scheme into the outcome of the litigation. The next hearing is due on 10th July.

The employers should now be clear that a compensation offer which is not an act of contrition but a cheap underfunded PR stunt will not wash. My advice is that the companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter.”

End

Contact Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

For people to identify more names on the blacklist call 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 579 452 re Blacklist Support Group