Monday, 15 July 2013

GMB sues Carillion for defamation on behalf of blacklisted members!

WE have just received the latest briefing from the Blacklist Support Group, which we are publishing in full. At a time when the Labour controlled council of Tameside, are giving contracts to Carillion who now run their Estate and Management facilities, and as from 1st September, will take over all school catering in the borough, the GMB trade union have launched a High Court claim against Carillion for defamation on behalf  of their members. We also understand that Unite and Ucatt, are considering similar action against the construction giant which was linked to the secretive blacklisting organisation the 'Consulting Association'.

1. Compensation Scheme

'A compensation scheme that covers all blacklisted workers has long been one of our demands. Some people for whatever reason will not be able to qualify for the various court cases that are being prepared and therefore this will be the scheme that covers everyone - we don't want anyone caught up in this missing out on any possible compensation.

At present lawyers are developing a draft compensation scheme - so far we have not seen the proposal and no one will be forced to accept any such scheme without full consultation. And even then, if people wish to carry on their legal claims instead, that is fully acceptable. But the logical outcome of the legal cases is that after a few test cases are won the blacklisting firms are likely to agree to an industry wide compensation scheme. This is the first tentative steps in that process. Updates on this will come out when things progress.

2. High Court Action

Blacklist Support Group is fully behind the Guney Clark & Ryan (GCR) High Court claim for conspiracy against Sir Robert McAlpine Limited. Sean Curran, JC Townsend and Liam Dunne were key speakers at our recent AGM and we encourage everyone who is not part of their own union's legal claims to join the GCR claim. This is being taken on a no-win no-fee basis with GCR agreeing to waive some of the legal costs for new applicants despite recent changes in legal funding rules.

There is some exchanging paperwork with the court at the moment. It is not expected that there will be a real hearing in court until early 2014 - the wheels of justice turn very slowly. GCR have stood shoulder to shoulder with us since 2009 and spent 4 years preparing this case without a penny in payment from any of us - we are immensely proud of the lawyers for taking such a principled stand on our behalf.

GMB have recently launched a High Court claim against Carillion for defamation on behalf of their members.

Both UNITE and UCATT have made noises to the similar effect.

3. Select Committee investigation

The Select Committee is looking for anyone who has put in a legal claim against any blacklisting firm where the company fought the case on a legal technicality - specifically did you put in an Employment Tribunal claim where the claim thrown out because of being out of time? or because you worked for a sub-contractor or an agency? or any other legal technicality?

If yes - then please get in touch with me ASAP - if you have evidence - then the Select Committee want to hear about it

The Select Committee is also looking for evidence of ongoing blacklisting.

Specifically has anyone got any evidence that the NRB "Not Required Back" system is still in operation in the North Sea - Offshore Oil industry?

or has anyone got any documentary evidence of any blacklisting in the building industry today (other than Crossrail) - what about Salford Media City? or the Power Stations?

4. Crossrail

The dispute with Crossrail and BFK is now global. UNITE have organised protests in France, Spain, Holland and this week Canada. UNITE have now organised over 400 protests across the UK with blacklisted workers involved in across Europe. This is just the start, we are going to crank it up and up.

Gail Cartmail raised the issue of ongoing blacklisting at Crossrail when giving 2 hours of evidence to the Select committee investigation. Crossrail, BFK, Ron Baron and Pat Swift were all given a good kicking and are going to be called to give evidence in the near future.

Great work Gail. Click here for video footage of evidence:

5 . Edd Mustill playwright solidarity

The play "St Giles Breed" by Edd Mustill was recently shown in London as part of the Transcend Festival. One of the sponsors on the event is the blacklisting firm BAM - Edd Mustill therefore protested at his own play and distributed flyers to the audience telling them about the role of BAM on Crossrail.

Top man Edd - great solidarity brother

See here for the full story:

6. Piper Alpha

It is the anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea.

167 offshore workers lost their lives because of a series of fundamental breaches of safety by the company who cut corners to increase production and profit.

We mourn the dead but also fight for the living.

There was a series of disputes on safety issues on oil rigs at the time with workers setting up the Offshore Industry Liaison Committee (OILC) - now part of RMT. Many workers offshore and building new rigs (including Piper Beat) were blacklisted for raising safety issues and the "not required back" NRB system was used to target OILC and other union activists (now in UNITE).

Professor Charles Woolfson was added to the blacklist for carrying out research into safety in the North sea after the Piper Alpha disaster (it actually states that in his blacklist file).

Our commemoration to those who lost their lives in Piper Alpha is to fight for better safety and against blacklisting of those who raised safety issues.

7. Local Authorities

Dozens of local councils and the Welsh assembly have passed motions at the full council meetings calling for blacklisting firms to be denied publicly funded contracts. Some local authorities have already refused tenders to the firms because of the blacklist but do not wish to go public about it - others are preparing to throw firms off when their contracts come up for renewal.

No Public Contracts for blacklisters - bring the services back into the public sector

Well done to the Councillors - keep your nerve - the first council to publicly throw off a blacklisting firm will be famous

8. Police Spies

Many people will have seen the Dispatches TV documentary or read the Guardian story about undercover police who spied on environmental activists and the Stephen Lawrence family. The same Special Branch spies also spied on trade unionists in the building industry - some of them came on our picket lines and even chaired our campaign meetings back in the 1990s. The story linking undercover police with the blacklist is likely to break in the media very soon.

9. Glastonbury Festival

The the new Reel News film "Blacklisting 2013 - the workers strike back" was premiered at Glastonbury Festival to a packed Speakers Forum stage.

New campaign video:

Ricky Tomlinson raised blacklisting and the Shrewsbury camapign when he took part in a debate alongside Mark Serwotka (PCS Gen Sec) chaired by John Humphreys (BBC) at an even more packed Left Field stage

10. TUC Day of Action

The TUC has held a meeting to discuss a Day of Action on blacklisting - we await the results.

11. ICO latest

To date the ICO has still onl;y issued 407 blacklist files. Which means over 2900 woprkers are still completely unaware that they have been blacklisted. The ICO is now working with the DWP and HMRC using national insurance numbers to track down other people on the list. It's only taken them four and a half years to do this.

If anyone thinks they may be on the blacklist - especially anyone who worked on Jubilee Line, Connah Quays in Wales, Royal Opera House or Pfizers in Kent contact the ICO to check.

If you have recently got your blacklist file - contact your union ASAP and contact us to be added to the BSG mailing list

12. Reel News Film Night - Blacklisting Special - Thursday 18th July

The Grosvenor Pub

Sidney Road, Stockwell, London SW9 0TP

Speaker: Frank Morris - blacklisted Crossrail rep



Premiered to a big audience at the Glastonbury festival, the full story of blacklisting in the construction industry.


Extracts from the brilliant “Rocking the Foundations” film, showing how building workers in the 70s prevented corporations destroying the environment in Sydney through rank and file action.

PLUS: Singer/songwriter CHRIS TYMKOW will be playing a short set, including his song "BLACKLIST"

keep the faith


Blacklist Support Group




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