Tuesday, 21 January 2014

EAT finds construction worker "Suffered an injustice from blacklisting!"

The Employment Appeal Tribunal judgement in the high profile blacklisting case of Smith v Carillion (JM) Ltd has been released (attached). 

The written judgement by Mrs. Justice Slade DBE identifies human rights violations and expresses concern that Dave Smith (secretary of Blacklist Support Group) "suffered an injustice from blacklisting" (para 70) but still finds in favour of Carillion because Mr Smith was not directly employed by the construction multinational but by an employment agency and UK employment law does not protect agency workers. 

Mr Smith was represented by John Hendy QC, David Renton (counsel) and Declan Owens (solicitor) via the Free Representation Unit (photo attached). John Hendy QC identified that blacklisting of Mr Smith breached Article 8 and Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights. 

The case gained front page media coverage and was discussed in parliament, following the original Employment Tribunal hearing in 2012. The original Employment Tribunal decision found that managers for various companies within the Carillion group had been actively involved in blacklisting Mr. Smith in his role as a UCATT union safety rep who had raised safety concerns on a number of building sites in London and Essex. But Mr Smith lost his case because as as an agency worker he was not protected by UK law.  The original ET judgement states "We have reached our conclusions with considerable reluctance. It seems to us that he has suffered a genuine injustice and we greatly regret that the law provides him with no remedy." (para 71)

Finding of facts in the case are on Paragraph 4-11 of the EAT judgement

Dave Smith commented
"Being a union member is not against the law. Raising concerns about asbestos is not against the law. 
But despite mountains of documentary evidence proving that construction firms were systematically blacklisting union members who questioned safety standards, it seems that big business are above the law.
Blacklisting is a violation of human rights. We intend to fight this all the way to Europe until we achieve justice. My heroic legal team are already preparing our appeal".  

Attached pix taken inside the EAT building (L-R) Declan Owens, David Renton, Dave Smith, John Hendy QC:


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