Unite, Britain's biggest union, today (Wednesday 20 November) announced a major legal offensive in the High Court on behalf of blacklisted workers.
The news comes as the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) confirmed yesterday that over the next few days a further 1,200 people will get a letter telling them they are on the blacklist. The move by the ICO paves the way for more legal challenges against the blacklisters.
The union announced that it had issued a first tranche of five High Court proceedings against blacklisters with 45 more cases to follow. The construction companies involved include, Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty, Crown House Technologies, Skanska, Kier and Laing O’Rourke.
The news comes as the TUC, Unite, Ucatt and the GMB hold a day of action against blacklisting today. Over four years have passed since 44 construction companies were exposed as blacklisters following a raid on the Consulting Association by the Information Commissioner. Protests are being held across the country, while unions lobby the Westminster and Scottish parliaments. The unions are calling on the construction industry to Own Up, Pay up, Clean Up.
Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail said: "Unite has launched a major legal offensive in the High Court on behalf of blacklisted workers. The union is preparing to issue a total of 50 cases in the High Court against construction employers including Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty, Crown House Technologies, Skanska, Kier and Laing O’Rourke.
"But this is just the tip of the iceberg now that a further 1,200 people will receive the shocking revelation that they are on the blacklist. A lot more legal cases will follow and we urge Unite members to contact us if they find out they are on the list.
"Unite has already supported numerous blacklisting cases in the courts and at employment tribunals and the union has already succeeded on behalf of many members.
"Unite will continue the very real task of giving the best legal and industrial representation to members who have been dehumanised by employers. Blacklisting is a morally indefensible practice.
"Workers need stronger legislation against blacklisting to give the law real teeth. We also believe that punishment for the blacklisters who have ruined lives and left families destitute should be severe. Blacklisting should be a criminal offence with punitive action up to and including imprisonment."
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland's largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey. .