Unions To Challenge Blacklisting In The Courts

26 Nov 2013

Some of Britain’s biggest construction firms are to face fresh legal action over their participation in a blacklisting scandal targeting union safety activists. Construction unions UCATT, GMB and Unite announced this week their intention to escalate the campaign in the courts.

UCATT said it intends to sue the firms for breach of confidence and misuse of private information found in their files, the only option it says is available. It has employed the services of Mark Warby QC, a leading expert on privacy law, to take the cases on behalf of its members. The union is initially taking action against Balfour Beatty, Bam, CB&I, Costain, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke, Lend Lease, Sir Robert McAlpine and Vinci. It is also to commence legal action against one of the former chairs of the Consulting Association, which managed the illegal blacklist, and a senior human resources manager for a blacklisting company. Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “Blacklisting companies wilfully destroyed the lives of ordinary construction workers and acted as though they were above the law. Our legal action will ensure that the victims receive the justice they deserve.”

GMB will also be in court next week, in an action against Carillion and Sir Robert McAlpine. National officer Justin Bowden said: “On 27 November particulars of claim will be served in the High Court in the GMB legal action against these two companies for blacklisting GMB members. A further hearing is due on 29 November… to make a decision about a group litigation order.” He said “at least half” of the 446 workers who have received confirmation they are on the 3,213 name blacklist “are covered by the High Court action.”

Unite said it had just issued its first tranche of five High Court proceedings against employers, with 45 more High Court cases to follow.