Unite, the UK’s construction union, is warning building workers not to be duped by a new campaign launched by no win no fee legal company the National Accident Helpline.

Compensation lost

The new campaign, called Rights on Sites, purports to offer assistance to construction workers when they suffer an injury on site. It fails to mention that by using the services of the National Accident Helpline the injured worker will lose a large slice of their compensation if their claim is successful.

The Rights on Sites offer compares poorly with the fact that when Unite takes a personal injury case for a member who is injured at or away from work, the member obtains the service free of charge and receives 100 per cent of the compensation awarded.

Construction workers supported

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “When an offer appears to be too good to be true it usually is. The National Accident Helpline has not launched Rights on Sites out of the goodness of its heart but as a cynical attempt to boost profits.

 “Unite is the union that puts the jobs, pay and conditions of its members front and centre and that commitment applies fully to all construction workers.”

Unite: employment support

A key part of being a member of Unite is that the union will support a worker with all employment issues, from disciplinary concerns to negotiating pay and conditions.

In a further unusual claim Rights on Sites raises the spectre of blacklisting, claiming it will explore its “hard realities”. Again, these no win no fee lawyers seem to have conveniently forgotten that to date Unite has secured £21.24 million on behalf of 465 construction workers who were the victims of the Consulting Association blacklisting organisation and that Unite is fully supporting workers in contemporary blacklisting matters.

Blacklisting concern

Unite believes that the way that the National Accident Helpline is highlighting blacklisting does nothing to resolve the issue and is using the scandal and workers’ fears about the practice purely as a self-marketing exercise.

The National Accident Helpline is a brand of National Accident Law. The company is lucrative, having recorded a profit of £1.1 million in 2020. However, profits have been steadily reducing since 2015 when the company recorded after tax profits of £12.3 million. The declining profits may well be a significant factor in the launch of Rights on Sites.

Unite: best possible protection

Unite national officer Jerry Swain said: “The best possible protection against injuries on construction sites is to be a member of Unite. Union organised sites are safer sites and if an accident should occur, our members receive a 100 per cent of the compensation award.

 “The National Accident Helpline has absolutely nothing to do with workers’ rights on construction sites. They are ‘ambulance chasers’ who only take on the cases they are convinced they can’t lose and then help themselves to a fair old chunk of the worker's compensation.

 “Personally I believe they are reducing workers’ rights and entitlements on construction sites and maybe it is time for trading standards to take a look at the misleading use of the slogan Rights on Sites."

ENDS

Notes to editors:

During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquiries ONLY please contact Unite senior communications officer Barckley Sumner on 07802 329235 or 0203 371 2067.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is the UK and Ireland’s leading union fighting to protect and advance jobs, pay and conditions for members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.