Former site worker Dave Smith has won the latest stage of his legal battle against construction multinational Carillion.
Mr Smith told a Central London Employment Tribunal this week he was victimised by the construction giant after becoming a trade union safety rep during the 1990s. Papers submitted to the employment tribunal present evidence that senior managers from Carillion supplied information about Mr Smith to a secret blacklist run by an organisation called the Consulting Association on behalf of 44 major firms in the UK building industry.
The information on his blacklist file, which included over 3,000 workers, was then illegally shared amongst the subscribing firms in order to prevent union activists gaining work on major construction projects.
Carillion argued that the blacklisting claim against them should be struck out by the court because it was out of time as the events happened in 1998-2000 and that it had “no reasonable prospect of success.”
But on 31 August, Employment Judge Pearl found in favour of Mr Smith on both legal issues, with Carillion withdrawing most of their case as the hearing progressed.
Dave Smith is not arguing unfair dismissal or “failure to appoint” but “detriment” as a result of the company placing information on his trade union and safety activities onto a blacklist file. Being on the blacklist caused him prolonged periods of unemployment before he was finally forced to leave the industry and retrain as a further education teacher.
David Clancy from the Information Commissioner’s Office – who uncovered the blacklist after a raid in 2009 – gave evidence in court and said that the people carrying out the blacklisting were very senior industrial relations or human resources managers, often at director level.
Commenting after the hearing, Mr Smith said: “Carillion have been caught red handed: the evidence against them is damning. Senior managers from the Carillion Group participated in secret and systematic abuse of human rights for decades. But to date, we have not heard a single word of apology.
“Until such time that the multinational blacklisting firms show some kind of corporate responsibility, we will continue to chase them through the courts: all the way to Strasbourg if necessary.”
Dave Smith was represented by counsel David Renton and solicitor Declan Owens from the Free Representation Unit.
The decision means that a Full Merits Employment Tribunal is now set for January 2012.