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£2m blacklist victory

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A long-running case against the ‘Big Seven’ contractors who were said to have systematically ruined the lives of site workers has ended in a near-£2m compensation settlement.

As part of the over-all package, which is subject to court approval, 53 blacklisted workers will get £1.9m in compensation. The defendants also agreed to pay the legal fees of the Unite union which fought the case.

In what is described as a legal breakthrough, the construction companies will also put £230,000 into a training fund for all victims of blacklisting who have brought proceedings. The fund will be administered by Unite and is not restricted to retraining in the construction industry.

The judge’s permission is being sought for unilateral statements to be made in open court tomorrow (Friday) and if that permission is granted, individual workers will explain how blacklisting ruined their lives.

The construction companies convened have also agreed to issue their own announcement, saying that they aim to work at national, regional and site level to ensure that the modern UK construction sector provides the highest standards of employment and HR practice. “Unite will hold them to account in this regard,” said a union spokesman.

Companies involved are Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI. Litigation arose after the discovery of a secret vetting system that operated from the early 1970s to February 2009 when it was closed.

The latest case follows a 2016 court action that saw Unite securing £19.34m for 412 blacklisted workers.

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©Scottish Plant.  Article posted 15/5/2019