Over 260 blacklisted construction workers are on the verge of securing damages, which could total tens of millions, after their union Unite won an unprecedented admission of guilt from construction companies involved in blacklisting it was announced today (Thursday 8 October).
The admission and apology is the result of High Court legal action by Unite legal services, the GMB, UCATT and the Blacklisting Support Group against 40 major construction firms involved in blacklisting through the secretive Consulting Association and Services Group of the Economic League.
As well as securing an admission that the construction firms, through the covert operations of the Consulting Association, had breached data protection and were liable for the unlawful use of the private details of Unite members (and others), Unite crucially secured a ground-breaking admission that its members had been defamed.
The additional admission of defamation means that Unite members are in line for larger pay outs to compensate for the damage inflicted on their lives by blacklisting. Importantly, it also stops the firms involved from hiding behind ‘non-disclosure’ meaning Unite members can continue to seek answers on how and why they were blacklisted.
Unite, through its legal team at Thompsons, will continue to pursue disclosure and seek compensation from those companies who have made these incredible admissions. Those companies include Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty, Crown House Technologies, Skanska, Kier and Laing O’Rourke.
Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Blacklisting is a scandal that has ruined lives and led to hardship and misery for thousands of people. The admissions from the blacklisters and the damages for the blacklisted are an important step on the road to justice in righting that wrong.
“That road won’t be completed though, or the stain of blacklisting removed, until there is a full public inquiry and the livelihoods of the blacklisted restored by the firms involved giving them a permanent job.
“Those Tory ministers, who profess to be on the side of workers, while attacking trade unions should take note of these landmark admissions. They need to drop their draconian Trade Union bill which will make it easier for bad bosses to get away with injustices like blacklisting.”
Unite director of legal services Howard Beckett added: “These unprecedented admissions from construction firms involved in systemic convert blacklisting and wouldn’t have been possible without the resolve of our members and the dedication of Unite’s legal team.
“Crucially, Unite members can expect to not only receive personal apologies and offers of redress but also larger payouts because of the admission of defamation. The admission of defamation allows Unite to continue to seek answers from the firms involved.
“This case once again underlines the vital role trade unions play in standing up for their members and is a reminder that Unite will not shy away from using the full force of the law to get justice.
“Unite would like to place on record our thanks to Richard Arthur and his team at Thompsons Solicitors which continues to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the trade union movement.”
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
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.