A High Court judge today (Friday 22 January) ordered 30 construction firms including Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd and Balfour Beatty to disclose all emails and correspondence relating to blacklisting after it emerged that managers at Balfour Beatty referred to blacklisted workers as ‘sheep’.
The ruling, which was welcomed by Britain’s largest union Unite, comes at the end of a two day hearing where the construction mogul Cullum McApline was accused of being a central architect in the operation of the Consulting Association until it was raided by the Information Commissioner in 2009.
The High Court hearing, which was backed by Unite, is part of ongoing legal action on behalf of 168 blacklisted workers. It follows last October’s unprecedented admission of guilt by construction firms involved in blacklisting through the secretive Consulting Association and Services Group of the Economic League.
Today’s ruling means that the 30 construction firms and four individuals have to disclose relevant information by 12 February 2016 in addition to paying costs. The information disclosed by the defendants can then be taken into account in calculating damages for the blacklisted workers who Unite is supporting.
Commenting, Unite director of legal services Howard Beckett said: “The ruling is a major step on the long road to justice for blacklisted workers many of whom have been tormented by questions about why they were targeted and their livelihoods destroyed.
“Despite admitting their guilt, it is shameful the lengths that some of the construction firms involved in blacklisting have gone to cover up their involvement.
“It is only now after sustained legal action with the support of Unite that the lid is being lifted on a scandal which has ruined countless lives and led to hardship for many more.
“That lid won’t be fully lifted though, or the stain of blacklisting removed, until there is a full public inquiry and the livelihoods of the blacklisted is restored by the firms involved giving them a permanent job.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.