Local blacklisted workers win court battle for compensation

A show of unity at a support rally in Grangemouth in 2013.
A show of unity at a support rally in Grangemouth in 2013.
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Two local workers are among the 116 GMB union members who are to share £5.3 million in compensation for being blacklisted by construction companies.

The workers have also received a full apology from the companies involved.

GMB reckoned at least 35 members in Falkirk were blacklisted in what the union described as a gross injustice and a sordid episode.

One worker from Grangemouth is to receive £90,000 in compensation and another from Falkirk was awarded £25,000.

In all, 32 GMB members from Scotland will share £1.6 million.

It is understood that the total settlement to paid to GMB, UCATT, GCR and Unite members is around £75m for 771 claimants.

GMB knows of 35 workers in Falkirk and three in Clackmannanshire who were blacklisted.

The blacklist first came to light in 2009 when the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers which was used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

The ICO never contacted anyone on the list to let them know they were blacklisted.

Companies known to have used the Consulting Association blacklist included Balfour Beatty, Balfour Kilpatrick, Miller Construction, Morrison Construction.

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: “For decades household name construction companies implemented an illegal blacklisting system, which denied a generation of trade union activists and health and safety reps an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families.

“Preventing 3213 workers earning a living to support their families was a gross injustice and government and employers’ organisations must never forget this sordid episode.”

Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said the companies involved “tried to keep this dirty little secret hidden” and were fearful public acknowledgement would cost them public sector contracts worth billions of pounds.

The compensation agreement was reached at the end of April but details of the compensation could not be revealed until last week when all claimants’ cases had been resolved.