03 May 2016
Workers blacklisted by construction firms for being members of trade unions finally saw some justice on Friday (29 April 2016), as major industry players were forced to fork over £250 million in compensation.
Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci were all ordered to provide settlements for unjustly treated workers as the result of a lawsuit brought by GMB and Ucatt.
As many as 300 trade unionists will receive compensation, with some activists receiving over £100,000, according to the Morning Star.
But those who have campaigned against blacklisting for decades say the fight is not over and the workers involved in the dispute will not rest until the full details of the blacklisting scandal are brought to light.
Blacklist Support Group chairman Steve Acheson said: “For more than 40 years, they were blacklisting us with impunity.
“Seven years ago when the files were discovered these firms denied everything and offered us nothing.
“Two years ago, their misnamed compensation scheme offered most people £1,000.
“These wretches have now been forced to pay out millions in compensation, combined with legal bills for four sets of lawyers – this will cost them close to a quarter of a billion pounds. That’s a big kick in the profit margin.
“It was the hard work and tenacity of rank & file activists that has brought this human rights conspiracy into the political discourse. What has already been achieved is a massive victory for the trade union movement but the fight is not over yet. Blacklisted workers may have won compensation but this is a long way from justice.
“The construction firms may ‘wish to draw a line under this matter’ but for blacklisted workers this is still unfinished business. Until such time that the the full conspiracy is exposed and those responsible for the human rights abuse are called to account in a court of law, we will never stop fighting”.
We are delighted to hear that some justice has finally been served for the thousands of workers who suffered due to the blacklisting scandal, but caution that the law still needs to change in this area to protect workers today and in the future from a repeat of this unfair practice.
As our President Professor Keith Ewing warned in the book Ruined Lives, regulations are not currently robust enough to prevent another scandal and ensure that further evidence coming to the surface always results in compensation for the victims.