Statement from the Blacklist Support Group
Major construction firms face deluge of blacklisting scandal legal cases
The Blacklist Support Group (a cross-union network representing blacklisted workers) issued a statement: “fullying supporting the actions of the Information Commissioner for today launching legal proceedings against 14 of the UK’s leading construction companies because of their involvement in illegal blacklisting of building workers because of their trade union membership and for raising safety concerns.”
6 of the 14 companies are divisions of Balfour Beatty.
The full list is:
Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering
Balfour Beatty Construction Northern
Balfour Beatty Construction Scottish & Southern
Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (HY)
Balfour Beatty Engineering Services
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Services
Emcor Engineering Services
Shepherd Engineering Services
SIAS Building Services
Whessoe Oil & Gas
The Blacklist Support Group statements continues:
The Information Commissioner is doing a fine job of exposing the illegal actions of these bluechip companies, but we intend to chase them by any means open to us, including getting the law changed and legal cases. Trade unions; Unite and UCATT have already launched Employment Tribunal claims the companies for discrimination due to trade union memebrship.
The initial arguement put up by the lawyers representing the firms, that the cases should not even be heard because they were out of time has already been defeated in the tribunal case taken by steel erector Phil Willis against CB&I.
With over 3000 workers on the blacklist and with a maximum pay-out at tribunal of £80,000 per case, the construction firms could face a major financial headache if precedents are set, opening the floodgates to future claims.
Dave Smith a claimant against Balfour Beatty
“I am a qualified Engineer, my only crime was to raise genuine concerns about asbestos and the appalling state of the toilet facilities on some building sites. Yet Balfour Beatty and the other construction firms illegally and covertly provided information about me which was used to compile a blacklist file. This was used to stop me gaining work and eventually led to me being unemployed. The companies cannot deny it, the Information Commissioner and the courts have all the paperwork and £3000 a year invoices they all paid are now in the public domain.
“My file is damning evidence against Balfour Beatty but the court case is not about being a victim. Its about justice for decent building workers who made honest complaints about safety, its about major companies not being above the law, its about human rights.”
Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights is the right to free assembly and association (the right to trade union membership). The Human Rights Act enshrines that right in UK law. The Blacklist Support group is calling upon the courts to protect these human rights that have so blatantly been breached by the blacklisting building firms.
Steve Kelly a Unite London construction workers’ activist pointed out that “the Employment Relations Act gave the government the authority to make blacklists illegal 10 years ago, but they chose not to do it because of the lobbying of the self-same comapnies who are now in court”
“It is a disgrace that the government has to hold a consultation about it now, but even if the blacklists are made illegal then that would still not prevent companies who already have workers’ names on file from continuing to use them,”
“Companies such as Balfour Beatty, Costain and Carillion are not setting fire to this list anytime soon, and that’s why we need to organise to give those on the blacklist a coherent, collective voice,”
for individual interviews with Blacklisted building workers contact
Blacklist Support Group