The biggest ‘blacklisting’ scandal in UK construction industry history has seen the court case end in victory as 256 workers are set to receive more than £10 million in compensation.
May 9th: Unite’s Regional Industrial Officer for Ireland, Maurice Cunningham confirmed pay-outs for those affected could range from £25,000 up to £200,000 per claimant, depending on such factors as the loss of income and the seriousness of the defamation.
“This is a huge victory for Unite and our members. The scale of the damages, in excess of £10 million, shows the gravity of the case. Major construction companies created and used the secretive Consulting Association, which was raided by the Information Commissioner in 2009, as a vehicle to enable them to blacklist trade unionists on behalf of more than thirty construction companies.
“The sums paid out will go a considerable way to acknowledge the hurt, suffering and loss of income our members and their families have been through over many years. Unite’s determined approach last week resulted in a further £4 million being awarded to 97 of the 256 claimants, whose original compensation offers we deemed inadequate. This brought the total compensation package to £10,435,000.
“This victory has taken five years and brought us face-to-face with household employers, such as Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd and Balfour Beatty Engineering Services, as well as more than 30 other firms, which were part of a blacklisting conspiracy that saw hundreds of workers lose those jobs and have their lives ruined for carrying out legitimate trade union activities, such as health and safety.
“Under the agreement these workers can once more apply for jobs in the construction industry without fear of discrimination. This result sends out a clear statement that never again can such nefarious activities be allowed to happen against decent working people trying to earn an honest living in a tough industry.
“The message is clear that there can never be any hiding place for bosses in the construction and any other industry thinking of reverting to shameful blacklisting practices against committed trade unionists.”
“In 2014, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed legislation which outlaws blacklisting of workers. It is important that the Executive continues to ask serious questions of these companies before they are engaged for public contracts”, Mr Cunningham concluded.