A Step Forward For 200 Blacklisted GMB Members

22 Jan 2013

GMB, the union for construction workers, today welcome the new approach by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) to cooperate with GMB solicitors Leigh Day who is preparing litigation to get compensation for over the 200 GMB members on the construction industry blacklist. This blacklist came to light when, in 2009, the ICO seized a database, held by blacklisting body the Consulting Association, of 3,213 construction workers used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

After the ICO seized the database they never contacted anyone on the list to let them know they were blacklisted. By autumn 2012 only 194 of the 3,213 people on the blacklist knew three years later that they were on the list as these had contacted the ICO directly. ICO finally agreed to help us check against our own membership records to find our members on the blacklist. ICO then failed to cooperate with Leigh Day who is preparing litigation to get them compensation at no cost to these members. However Leigh Day has now informed GMB that they and ICO have reached an agreement so that the blacklist files for GMB members can be released to them.

Maria Ludkin, National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs “We are very pleased that the ICO has decided to adopt a more flexible and pragmatic approach which will help ensure the GMB can effectively represent those members who have been blacklisted. These are people who were deprived of an honest living by these illegal tactics which blighted their families’ lives. They have been the victims of injustice over many years by multi-national companies which now seek to live off public sector contracts.

GMB welcome this move by the Labour front bench to try and force the ICO to write to those blacklisted so that they can seek compensation. The ICO should have done this more than 3 years ago and until they do so GMB will push ICO for a proactive action to inform all 3,213 builders that they are on the blacklist. There are a further 300 GMB members who may have been on the list but we need more information to assess this. We are using the next issue of our member’s magazine to help us do this. GMB’s priority now is to step up the campaign to get each and every GMB members blacklisted proper compensation.

GMB also welcome the Scottish Affairs Committee seeking evidence from Mr Cullum McAlpine who chaired the blacklisting body. This Committee has done a great job pulling back the curtain of secrecy to give a glimpse as to the way that employers like Carillion and others have illegally used their power and money to blacklist citizens and to deny them their rights to employment. GMB has faced stalling and denials from the likes of Carillion. They have consistently sought to deny or play down their involvement in spite of evidence from the ICO that Carillion involvement with the Consulting Association blacklist included parts of their organisation such as Crown House, Schal International, SkyBlue Employment Agency, Tarmac and John Mowlem as well as Carillion itself along with as evidence that up to 10 Carillion managers were involved in the operation of the blacklist.”