Thursday, 1 August 2013

Activist says: 'UK Construction Industry on Trial!'

THE High Court claim against Sir Robert McAlpine (SRM) for 'tort of unlawful conspiracy' due to their central involvement in the blacklisting conspiracy has taken a major twist as the company added 34 other defendants to the legal case as part of their defence submitted to the court.

The claim being brought by workers in the building industry represented by Guney, Clark and Ryan solicitors in association with the Blacklist Support Group is based upon evidence discovered when the Consulting Association blacklist database was discovered following a raid by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in 2009. 

Documents including invoices seized by the ICO and evidence given to the Scottish Affairs Select Committee by Cullum McAlpine, identify Sir Robert McAlpine as the key driver of the blacklisting conspiracy having set up the Consulting Association in the 1990s after purchasing the original blacklist from the notorious Economic League.

SRM have now added 34 other construction companies including household names such as Costain, Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Carillion, AMEY, AMEC as co- defendants in the conspiracy claim. Troubled construction firms Kier and BAM, both currently under investigation by Vincent Cable's BIS for their role in ongoing blacklisting of union activists on the Crossrail project are also added to the action by SRM.

The additional defendants are all companies that subscribed to the Consulting Association blacklist between its formation in 1993 until its forced closure in 2009. Senior Directors and HR professionals within the companies covertly added personal sensitive, often wildly inaccurate information about union members who raised concerns about safety issues or unpaid wages. The information from the blacklist files was then secretly shared among the companies to check prospective employees or those of sub-contractors, with those individuals found to be on the list dismissed or refused employment.

The Consulting Association blacklist has been described as a 'National Scandal' by Chuka Umunna MP (Shadow Buisness Secretary) during a full debate in the House of Commons and a number of separate legal challenges are already within the legal system including human rights claims already lodged with Strasbourg.

Steve Acheson, spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group and the claimant in whose name the group litigation was commenced, said: 
'The entire construction industry is now on trial in the High Court.  Blacklisted workers have waited over four years just to get this far but we will not cease our fight until we fully expose the secret human rights conspiracy and achieve some kind of justice: even if that means a full public inquiry.  We are fighting for compensation for our families but we are also fighting for all those workers who lost their lives on building projects when safety reps were systematically targeted by these companies who value profits above human life.'[

Sean Curran, partner at Guney, Clark and Ryan solicitors said:
'Guney Clark and Ryan Solicitors have been singularly working on this case since 2009 in pursuit of those companies and individuals whose nefarious and clandestine actions caused such great harm and injury to our claimants and their families. We are very happy that the action is now progressing through the court system. Ultimately we look forward to the day we obtain redress on behalf of our clients and in doing so, ensuring they can move on with their careers and personal lives without this experience continuing to blight them' 

Blacklist Support Group

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