IER welcomes proposed compensation scheme for blacklisted workers; but this is not even the beginning of the end

11 October 2013 The Institute of Employment Rights (IER) welcomes the news that eight major construction firms involved in the blacklisting scandal have admitted wrong and proposed a joint compensation scheme for those who lost their livelihoods through the abhorrent practice. But President of the IER Professor Keith Ewing has warned that this does not mark the end of the blacklisting scandal.

Commentary icon11 Oct 2013|Comment

Keith Ewing

Professor of Public Law, King’s College London

11 October 2013

The Institute of Employment Rights (IER) welcomes the news that eight major construction firms involved in the blacklisting scandal have admitted wrong and proposed a joint compensation scheme for those who lost their livelihoods through the abhorrent practice. But President of the IER Professor Keith Ewing has warned that this does not mark the end of the blacklisting scandal.

A statement released yesterday morning (10 October 2013) said that Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Lang O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci have agreed to establish the construction workers’ compensation scheme, which will pay out to blacklisted workers with “a legitimate claim”.

Trade unions and other interested parties have been invited to consult on the proposed scheme “to ensure that the proposed terms of the scheme are fair and effective”. Following this “period of engagement”, full details of the scheme will be announced.

“The companies … all apologise for their involvement with TCA (The Consulting Association) and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker,” the statement said.

It added that the firms “would support the introduction of a code of conduct to ensure nothing like this can happen within the construction industry again”.

Keith Ewing said: “The announcement by the construction companies that they plan to set up a compensation scheme for blacklisted workers is welcome recognition of corporate complicity in outrageous activity.

“But we need to be very, very cautious. Any compensation scheme should be introduced only with the full agreement of the interested trade unions, and more importantly the full agreement of the blacklisted workers and their direct representatives.

“It is essential that if any such scheme is to operate, it is to do so on the basis that it will provide FULL compensation, such as would be recoverable in the impending civil action.

“It is essential also that any scheme is fully financed by the companies, and that it is administered in a manner that has the FULL agreement and confidence of the unions concerned and the blacklisted workers involved.

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. There is a long way to go. But it shows that worker campaigns against big companies can be very effective and deliver results.

“It also shows that strategic litigation, well led by insightful and inspiring legal representation can be very effective. There are lessons here for other workers and other unions.”

Keith Ewing

Keith Ewing Keith Ewing Professor Keith Ewing is Professor of Public Law at King's College London. He has written extensively on labour law including recognition procedures and international standards. He is also the President of the Institute of Employment Rights