Blacklisted worker talks on verge of breakdown over 'inadequate' compensation offer
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Development, Legal
Contractor found guilty of blacklisting trade unionist
Talks between the GMB union and lawyers representing construction firms that blacklisted workers are on the verge of breaking down, the union has claimed.
GMB says that the total of between £15-20 million being offered in compensation to 3,213 blacklisted workers is "grossly inadequate". At £20m, the compensation would come to around £6,200 per worker.
The blacklisting came to light in 2009 when the Information Commissioner's Office seized a consulting association database of 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.
In October 2013, the blacklisting companies Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC announced that they were setting up The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) to compensate those on the list.
GMB has since been locked in talks with Pinsents Masons, the legal firm representing the eight construction companies.
So far, 1,724 of the 3,213 affected have been made aware that they were blacklisted; 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions.
The ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files, leaving 1,489 still to trace.
Last April, the ICO said: “We don’t plan to write out to any more people, as we believe we’ve written to everyone who we can be sure of having up-to-date details for.”
Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “The GMB Central Executive Council has been updated on progress in the talks which are now on the brink of breaking down.
"GMB consider that the main stumbling block is the amount of compensation being offered to the victims of blacklisting in whatever form that took.
"The total current cash envelope for fast track compensation we estimate is between £15m and £20m. That is less than £3m per company.
"This is grossly inadequate to deal with the devastating damage inflicted on people in their working lives and the colossal invasion of their privacy.
"This compensation offer is not an act of contrition it is a PR stunt. My advice is that the companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter.
"The eight companies between them have a turnover of over £34 billion and pre-tax profits of £1.04 billion. The talks should not break down over the size of the cash envelope. The employers have to own up, clean up and pay up.”