Saturday, 13 February 2016

Now for the Cost of Blacklisting

CONSTRUCTION firms have paid out nearly £6m in compensation to just 71 blacklisted workers. The UCATT members were all claimants in the High Court group litigation and on average received £80,000 with some individuals receiving £200,000 for the years of hardship caused by the illegal Consulting Association blacklist. The companies involved in the legal action are: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci PLC. A number of cases have now settled with a total payout so far by the firms in excess of £15m. Acceptance of the compensation offers for many was not their preferred option but was forced upon them because of the financial implications associated with a Part 36 offer. There remain around 340 blacklisted workers whose claims are still live, with the trial still scheduled for 10 weeks and set to start in May.

Public authorities across the UK and Europe have passed resolutions and issued procurement guidelines that would mean that if found guilty at a High Court trial they could be banned from future publicly funded contracts.  

Dave Smith, blacklisted engineer and Blacklist Support Group secretary commented:
"The offers of compensation are a cynical attempt by the companies to buy themselves out of a High Court trial. The blacklisting firms know they are guilty as sin and are desperate to protect their corporate brand. But the millions they will be ordered to pay by the High Court will be dwarfed by the potential billions they could lose out on if banned from government and local authority contracts across Europe
A large number of workers were put on the illegal Consulting Association database because they raised concerns about safety on building sites. By covertly targeting union safety reps, these companies appear to have given themselves a competitive advantage, as implementing proper health & safety measures on major projects has obvious financial consequences. Blacklisting is a human rights scandal but it might also be viewed as a secret cartel. I'm looking forward to the trail in May". 

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