Compensation for blacklisted workers

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A compensation scheme for workers blacklisted by construction firms has been branded “grossly inadequate” by union leaders.

A 53-year-old St Helens builders was among thousands of workers who discovered they’d been barred from certain jobs for their union activities.

The blacklist, containing more than 3,200 names of mainly building workers, was discovered five years ago when the offices of the Consulting Association were raided by the Information Commissioner.

Many of those on the list say they have been denied work for years.

Eight companies said that following months of talks, the scheme had been finalised and was now open to applications.

Compensation will range from £4,000 where “minimal information” was held, to £20,000 for those whose entries on the blacklist included more details.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said, “To try and present such a grossly inadequate sum of money as meaningful compensation for the devastating damage inflicted on the livelihoods and families of the thousands of people they blacklisted, and for the gross invasion of privacy they committed, suggests they are sorry only that they got caught and saw their corporate reputations dragged through the mud, nothing more.

“These construction companies lied and spied and this is the paltry price they place on 15 years of blacklisting. Legally represented blacklisted workers are likely to get a much better settlement through the courts.”

Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “This is a deeply cynical attempt by the blacklisting companies to try to prevent workers, who have had their lives ruined, getting justice.”

The St Helens reader whose name featured on a construction industry blacklist has urged other people to check whether they’re on it too. The reader, who asked not to be named, claims he was blocked from getting jobs by major employers after being involved in two trade union disputes.

“It’s hard enough trying to find work at the moment without having a black mark against your name. I just couldn’t get a start anywhere.”