Unite has set-up a special ‘hotline’ as around 1200 victims and families receive letters from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) telling them they were blacklisted through a conspiracy involving 44 construction companies spanning decades.
The union is urging those that receive the shock revelations not to fall for employer attempts to lock them into a compensation scheme called The Workers Compensation Scheme, which is not yet ready, has not been agreed by the unions, and any compensation could fall far short of what the victims could otherwise get through union representation. Representation facilitated by Unite in respect of blacklisting claims guarantees that 100 per cent of any award is paid to the member.
Instead, Unite is urging its members to contact the Unite ‘hotline’ on 0800 587 7539 which will immediately direct you to the union’s lawyers who will advise callers on the next steps.
The ICO confirmed that 1,200 people will get a letter telling them they are on the blacklist. It has been almost four years since the Consulting Association was first raided in 2009, yet unacceptable delays by the ICO meant that, up until now, only around 400 people were informed they were on the blacklist.
Those workers on the blacklist were denied employment without explanation, financial hardship was caused, lives were thrown into chaos and sometimes ruined. Those affected may have had suspicions they were on the blacklist, but had no evidence that they were being discriminated against in such a systematic and methodical way.
Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail said: “We urge the victims of blacklisting and their families to use our hotline or contact their union rather than fall for employer attempts to buy them off. Lives were ruined and families were torn apart - victims of blacklisting deserve the best legal support rather than a scheme designed by employers to limit their exposure, rather than properly compensate the victims.
“Unite is mounting a major legal operation to support blacklisted workers. Our union has already supported the majority of blacklisting cases in the courts and at employment tribunals. The union has already succeeded on behalf of many members. We are taking cases on a wide range of legal points, including defamation, breaches of the Data Protection Act and conspiracy. We are exploring every legal avenue to find justice for blacklisted workers.”
Unite has 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.
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
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.