Construction firms set to compensate blacklisted workers

    10 Oct 2013

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    It has been reported that eight leading construction firms are to come together to set up a compensation fund for workers whose names were included on a secret industry blacklist.

    It was revealed that more than 3,200 names, mainly of building workers, were kept on the list, complied by The Consulting Association (TCA), with workers involved claiming they were denied work, often for merely raising legitimate concerns about health and safety on building sites.

    The companies - Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci – have issued a joint statement saying that they “apologise for their involvement with TCA and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker”.

    It then added:

    "At this time we are not able to share any further information on the proposed scheme. However, once engagement with the workers' representatives has concluded, we will announce full details of the scheme which we would like to open to applicants as soon as possible.”

    According to reports, the eight contractors are now working together to develop a scheme to compensate construction workers whose names were on TCA database.

    The statement continued:

    "The companies have invited workers' representatives to enter into a period of engagement to ensure that the proposed terms of the scheme are fair and effective. The group is also engaging with other interested parties."

    Construction union, Ucatt, described the development as a “step forward” but said it wants more.

    Ucatt General Secretary, Steve Murphy, said:

    “This is a step forward; the companies involved are admitting their guilt for the first time and are recognising that the victims of blacklisting deserve compensation. However to be a legitimate scheme all 3,213 blacklisted victims or their dependents must be notified that they were on a blacklist.”

    Mr Murphy added:

    “While this could be a significant victory in the battle for justice for the blacklisted workers, there is still a great deal of information we do not yet have including how the scheme will work and who will be eligible. Until we have all the information and it is clear that the scheme is, transparent, open and accessible to all victims of blacklisting we cannot endorse it.”

    Unite Assistant General Secretary, Gail Cartmail, also commented:

    "It must be a priority to get blacklisted workers back into work. Many of these workers have spent years out of work as a result of being blacklisted. Employers have a moral duty to give them back the jobs that were wrongly taken away from them."

    The union also called for a new code of practice for the construction industry covering how it employs people.

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