Workers on black list win compensation from several construction companies

A long-running campaign to win compensation for construction workers who were blacklisted by firms for union activities has finally ended. The union Unite has reached a settlement with construction firms that will mean 256 workers share more than £10 million in compensation.

Unite said payouts could range from £25,000 to £200,000 per claimant, depending on such factors as the loss of income and the seriousness of the defamation.

In some cases, the blacklist included details of worker's political views, competence and trade union activities. The list had been used by dozens of construction firms to vet those applying for work on building sites.

Last month, the GMB and Ucatt unions and a law firm reached a separate settlement with construction companies in the blacklisting scandal. That claim was settled for a total of £5.4 million plus legal costs.

Blacklisting came to light in 2009 when the Information Commissioner's Office seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

The companies have issued an apology.  The statement read:

“Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci PLC today announce that they have settled the litigation between them and individuals represented by Unite regarding the activities of the Economic League and the Consulting Association. In October 2015, the construction companies - unlike any other companies involved in the vetting system - spontaneously and openly acknowledged that the system was unlawful in various respects and made a full public apology, which was widely reported at the time.”

Unite, Ucatt, GMB and GCR have now all accepted this public apology.