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Settlements agreed for blacklisting scandal

Construction 'blacklisting' victory sees £10 million pay-out to 256 workers

Posted by Stephanie Broad | May 12, 2016 | People, policy, politics, money

The biggest 'blacklisting' scandal in UK construction industry history has seen the court case end in victory as workers are set to receive millions in compensation.

The blacklisting by the Consulting Association was first revealed in 2009.

Unite, the country's biggest union, said on 9 May that the payouts 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. 

Unite’s determined legal stance resulted in a further £4 million for 97 of the 256 claimants, whose original compensation offers the union deemed inadequate. This brought the total compensation package to £10,435,000. 

Unite waged a five-year fight, following the election of Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite, against household names, 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.  

At the centre of the scandal were the machinations of the secretive Consulting Association which was raided by the Information Commissioner in 2009.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “The massive scale of the agreed damages - more than £10 million - shows the gravity of the misdeeds of these major construction companies which created and used the Consulting Group as a vehicle to enable them to blacklist trade unionists on behalf of more than 30 construction companies.

“The sums to be paid out go a considerable way to acknowledge the hurt, suffering and loss of income our members and their families have been through over many years.

“Under the agreement they can once more apply for jobs in the construction industry without fear of discrimination.”

Construction union UCATT has also confirmed that they have won £8.9 million on behalf of the 156 cases it took for its blacklisted members. The full amount could not be previously revealed due to the ongoing nature of the High Court action, which has now been concluded.

Brian Rye, Acting General Secretary, said: “This is the largest ever compensation payment won by this union on behalf of our members. The pay-outs members have received go a small way to compensating them for the hurt and loss that they and their families suffered over many years.'

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