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By John Millington
The GMB trade union will demonstrate outside the Wolverhampton offices of Carillion on Wednesday as part of a national day of action against blacklisting.
The company has always strenuously denied blacklisting any workers but has admitted to using the now defunct Consulting Association list which allowed employers to screen out “unsuitable” employees.
Blacklisting came to light in 2009, when the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized the Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.
2,767 of the 3,213 people on the blacklist are not aware that their names are on the blacklist after the ICO decided not to contact them directly.
Last month eight blacklisting companies (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC) went some way towards an apology and have now offered compensation of up to £100,000 to the the victims they blacklisted.
Justin Bowden GMB National Officer said:
“This day of action is to give the message that the all the companies who blacklisted workers must Own Up, Clean Up, Pay Up.
“On 27th November particulars of claim will be served in the High Court in the GMB legal action against these two companies for blacklisting GMB members. A further hearing is due on 29th November, in front of the Senior Master, to make a decision about a group litigation order.
“With regard to the proposed compensation scheme there is a big problem in that only 446 of the 3,213 workers blacklisted know they are on the blacklist. How the other 2,767 get told has yet to be determined. At least half of the 446 who do know are covered by the High Court action.
“How the 8 blacklisters who have offered compensation now respond to points made to them by GMB, UCATT, Unite and Blacklist Support Group will quickly tell us whether this is a serious attempt to work towards a negotiated solution, or if it is merely a cynical PR exercise
“Over the weekend when Vince Cable, Secretary of State for BIS announced a panel to review industrial disputes and tactics used by both unions and employers he referred to blacklisting.
“The ministers words on blacklisting would carry more weight if Government had already launched an inquiry into what we now know is abuse on a massive scale on the civil and human rights of over 3,200 workers by 44 huge employers.
“Since there has been no such inquiry into blacklisting will this inquiry now extend to and deal this abuse by employers over decades? Will this new inquiry now cover the activities of managers who organized this blacklisting who are still in senior posts in the public and private sectors?”
On 27th November the union will begin legal action over alleged blacklisting of GMB members with a further hearing is due on 29th November.