Hundreds of workers blacklisted by Britain’s biggest construction firms in an illegal conspiracy have won compensation following a long-running lawsuit. Last week approximately 420 trade unionists secured damages from the firms after launching the legal action four years ago. The out of court settlement was reached by lawyers acting for the Blacklist Support Group and the unions GMB and UCATT. It brings to more than 600 the number of workers who have received compensation after their names appeared on the construction industry financed and run Consulting Association blacklist. The amount of compensation has not been disclosed but, according to campaigners, could exceed £50m. Some blacklisted workers have been reported to have received damages of up to £200,000. Steve Acheson, a blacklisted electrician from Manchester who chairs the union-backed Blacklist Support Group, commented: “Seven years ago when the files were discovered these firms denied everything and offered us nothing. Two years ago, their misnamed compensation scheme offered most people £1,000. These wretches have now been forced to pay out millions in compensation, as well as legal bills for four sets of lawyers. That’s a big kick in the profit margin.” He added: “The construction firms may ‘wish to draw a line under this matter’ but for blacklisted workers this is still unfinished business. Until such time that the full conspiracy is exposed and those responsible for the human rights abuse are called to account in a court of law, we will never stop fighting.” The claims were brought against Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci, who all paid for and used the blacklisting services provided by the Consulting Association. In October 2015, these construction companies admitted the system was unlawful and made a full public apology. Unite is continuing its High Court blacklisting case against the construction firms on behalf of 90 members.
GMB news release. UCATT news release. Blacklist blog. BWI news release. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Construction Enquirer. Morning Star. The Mirror. Blacklist Support Group facebook page.
Bristol & District Hazards Group will assemble with other trade unionists at 12.30pm on Thursday 28th April 2016 at Tony Benn House, Victoria St, Bristol before marching the short distance to Castle Park to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day. Further details can be found on the Trades Council webpage here.
The following day (Friday 29th April 2016), we will be hosting a showing of the 1976 Oscar-winning film ‘Harlan County, USA’. This film documents the 1972-73 miners strike in Kentucky.
Please click on the poster below for details of the film showing.
Click the Doc 3 link for a picture of very dangerous practice.
I was working on a building site today (25/02/16) with various subcontractors and observed this young lad working with an angle grinder with no ear protection. Research has shown that this will cause permanent damage to his hearing. He also had no eye protection. So I took the photograph and then voiced my concerns adding that I had photographic evidence of a breach in health and safety regulations. The job was immediately stopped and within an hour the lad was supplied with protection. The lesson is always have a camera to hand (which most people have on their phones) and use it before you raise your concerns
Ian Wright, UCATT
Posted on February 6, 2016
A union investigation has confirmed the migrant workers toiling to get Qatar ready for the 2022 World Cup are still facing overcrowded, squalid accommodation and deadly working conditions. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey was part of delegation that made a secret, after-dark trip to a labour camp in Al Khor, north of the capital Doha, to see the conditions and speak to the workers. “Football is a beautiful game turned ugly by the heartbreaking ill-treatment of wave after wave of workers lured to Qatar on false promises, then trapped in a living hell,” Mr McCluskey told the Mirror. Mr McCluskey said he will form a united front with MPs and campaigners after witnessing widespread abuse of migrants on his unofficial visit. He also plans to build an alliance with the players’ union PFA and supporters’ clubs to demand guarantees from the five candidates to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA boss. “Wages agreed in advance aren’t paid and they’re packed into dirty, hot, crowded rooms, with the inadequate cooking and washing areas, a severe health risk because they’re so dirty,” said Mr McCluskey. “Every football fan, trade unionist and anybody who cares about decency must protest loudly because we can’t stand by and look the other way, letting these workers be tortured like this.” Labour frontbencher Ian Lavery, who was part of the delegation, said: “These people are being treated like animals and the appalling wages and conditions trap them in a nightmare.” The global union confederation ITUC estimates thousands more migrant workers could die in the run up to 2022 event unless conditions and workers’ rights are dramatically improved.