Hundreds of workers who were blacklisted by large firms in an illegal conspiracy have won compensation following a long-running lawsuit.
Last week approximately 420 trade unionists secured damages from major construction firms after launching legal action four years ago. The out of course settlement was reached by lawyers acting for the Blacklist Support Group and the unions GMB and UCATT. It brings to more than 600 the number of workers who have received compensation after their names appeared on a construction industry financed and run Consulting Association blacklist.
The amount of compensation has not been disclosed but, according to campaigners, could exceed £50m. It has been previously disclosed that some blacklisted workers have been awarded damages ranging from £25,000 to £200,000.
Steve Acheson, a blacklisted electrician from Manchester who chairs the union-backed Blacklist Support Group, commented: “Seven years ago when the files were discovered these firms denied everything and offered us nothing. Two years ago, their misnamed compensation scheme offered most people £1,000. These wretches have now been forced to pay out millions in compensation, as well as legal bills for four sets of lawyers. That’s a big kick in the profit margin.”
He added: “The construction firms may ‘wish to draw a line under this matter’ but for blacklisted workers this is still unfinished business. Until such time that the full conspiracy is exposed and those responsible for the human rights abuse are called to account in a court of law, we will never stop fighting.”
The claims were brought against Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci, who all paid for and used the blacklisting services provided by the Consulting Association.
Unite is continuing its High Court blacklisting case against the construction firms on behalf of 90 members.