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Blacklist - "cut price" compensation scheme launched

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

GMB to contact all blacklisted construction workers over unilateral offer of compensation from eight blacklisting firms.

Workers will be told that fast track compensation of between £15m and £20m is grossly inadequate to deal with the devastating damage inflicted on people in their working lives and the colossal invasion of their privacy says GMB.

GMB, the union for construction workers, commented on the announcement by eight construction employers Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC that up to 574 construction workers in Scotland who have been blacklisted in Scotland could be eligible for compensation. See notes to editors for copy of the press release dated 19th August and for details of where blacklisted worker in Scotland come from.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said “ Most people blacklisted by the construction companies behind TCWCS stand to win many times more from the courts. Therefore they should not be fooled by the cut price compensation on offer and should see it for what it is, a damage limitation publicity stunt.

Lengthy and detailed talks between GMB and lawyers representing construction employers on The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down over the amount of money being offered.

The employers would not heed our advice that the total current cash envelope for fast track compensation, of between £15m and £20m, is grossly inadequate to deal with the devastating damage inflicted on people in their working lives or the colossal invasion of their privacy.

Neither have the employers heeded the advice of the Scottish Affairs Committee to amend the compensation scheme. They are now trying to peddle it unilaterally to the people they blacklisted.

Leigh Day, acting for GMB, began action in July in the High Court in London seeking compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and the other firms. GMB’s claims are joined with a further 449 claims by other two other unions and one other party.

As part of the group litigation order, the four parties including GMB were given permission to write to all those blacklisted. The ICO has until 25th August to give us the addresses. Once we have the addresses we will be writing jointly to everyone.

When we write to all those blacklisted we will tell them that one purpose of the scheme is for the companies involved to avoid High Court litigation. We will urge workers to get in touch with their current or previous union for advice first.

TCWCS does not mention that compensation in their scheme is capped, does not include damages for misuse of private information, and does not involve the companies giving any information about how they were involved in blacklisting. None of these restrictions are found in court.

The legal advice TCWCS are referring to will only be about the legal effect of entering the scheme - what most workers want to know is the merits of any possible court action, so they can weigh this option up alongside TCWCS. All workers should get this advice first before contacting TCWCS.

What's striking about Graylings' press release is what they've left out. What is this compensation for? If the workers have been wrongfully kept out of work, then why aren't they getting all their wages for when they were out of work? Why don't they mention that the legal advice they are offering is what they have to give, because people would be signing away their right to bring a High Court claim?

GMB has a simple message to anyone on the blacklist: get free legal advice from us or your union before you make any decisions.

The companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter.

The eight companies between them have a turnover of over £34 billion and pre-tax profits of £1.04 billion. The employers have to own up, clean up and pay up. Until they do so they have to be excluded from work in Scotland.”

End

Contact for GMB  Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or  Richard Leonard on 07703 465 447 or Harry Donaldson 07835 456 726 or 0141 332 8641 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

For people to identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on  07840 897997 or email him blacklisted@gmb.org.uk

For information on High Court action contact Leigh Day: David Standard 07540 332717 or Michael Newman 0795 223 9358 or Chris Benson on 07795425649.

Notes to editors

Copy of press releases by Graylings in Scotland 19 August 2014

Up to 574 construction workers in Scotland could be eligible for compensation

The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) is urging anyone in Scotland who worked in construction anytime up to 2009 to contact them to find out whether they are entitled to financial compensation under the recently launched scheme.

The scheme, which opened on 4 July 2014, will pay compensation of between £4,000 and £100,000 to any construction worker whose name was held on The Consulting Association (TCA) records – all you need to prove is your identity as the person named. The scheme will also pay compensation to the estate of a construction worker whose name was on the records but who has since died – again, all that is needed is a match between the name and the details held. The Consulting Association held the names of around 3,000 workers and some of these names were checked by construction companies before employment.

According to figures published by the GMB union, there may be 574 individuals in Scotland who are eligible for compensation.

The scheme has been designed to make it easy for anyone who can prove their identity as a person named on TCA records to claim and provides two routes for accessing compensation – fast track and full review.

Offering fixed levels of compensation, the fast track is designed for those looking for a fast payment against fixed criteria, or for those where only very basic information was held. Under fast track, successful applicants will receive payments starting at £4,000 when only very basic information, such as a name and region, is held rising to a maximum of £20,000 when there is evidence that the records had been accessed. Fast track applicants simply need to be able to demonstrate they are the person listed on the records; they do not need to prove loss of earnings as awards are based solely on the information held. Once a fast track applicant knows they are eligible and decides to join the scheme, they will receive their compensation payment within two weeks.

The full review process is an alternative process for those people where there is evidence that their records were accessed and who would prefer a more detailed investigation of their particular circumstances. The full review provides the opportunity to submit evidence of the impact of TCA records on the individual’s employment. These claims will be assessed by an independent adjudicator who is able to set compensation up to a maximum of £100,000 for any individual claimant. Under full review, the assessment of the claim and payment of compensation will be completed within three to six months.

Anyone who is eligible to join the scheme is entitled to ‘no obligation’ legal advice, paid for by TCWCS, to help them decide whether the scheme is right for them.

A spokesperson for TCWCS said: “We are encouraging anyone in Scotland who worked in construction in the years leading up to and including 2009 to contact the TCWCS freephone helpline or look at the website for further information - we are really keen to find as many people as possible who are eligible for compensation, so do get in touch. Or if you know someone else who worked in construction, please encourage them to pick up the phone to us or log onto www.tcwcs.co.uk to find out whether they are eligible for compensation. Enquiries to the scheme are handled quickly and, if you are eligible, joining the scheme is completely free of charge. TCWCS is even covering the cost of independent legal advice for every eligible applicant to help them decide whether the scheme is right for them.”

Contacting TCWCS or making an initial enquiry

Full details of the terms of the scheme – from the application process to levels of compensation - can be found at www.tcwcs.co.uk. Any construction worker, or the family of a deceased construction worker, who believes they may have been affected by TCA records can download an initial enquiry form which is also available from the TCWCS freephone helpline on 0800 980 8337.

Ends

Media enquiries:
Rebecca Gudgeon
020 7932 1888 / 07814 028 559
rebecca.gudgeon@grayling.com

Notes to editors

·      The Consulting Association (TCA) was used by 44 individual construction companies. Due to acquisitions and restructures within the industry, around 25 of these companies continue to trade today.

·      TCA operated between 1993 and 2009. It was closed in 2009 following a raid by the Office of the Information Commissioner (ICO).

·      TCA held over 3,000 individual records.

·      The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) has been developed and funded by eight of the companies that had used TCA - Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC.

·      All of these eight companies have undertaken a thorough review of their HR practices, pre-employment vetting processes and policies around the use of personal data.

·      TCWCS was launched and opened to applications on 4 July 2014. It will remain open for a minimum of two years.

·      Representatives for TCWCS engaged with GMB, Unite, UCATT and workers’ representatives for eight months prior to the launch of the scheme. While the eight companies were disappointed not to reach complete agreement with the unions, substantial changes to the terms of the originally proposed scheme had been made during the period of engagement.

·      TCWCS is open to anyone who can prove their identity as a person named on the records of TCA, regardless of the level of information held or whether that information was ever accessed.

·      TCWCS is open to the estates of those whose names were held but who have since died - all that is needed is a match between the name and the details held.

·      TCWCS is open to those who had information held by the Economic League which was transferred to TCA in 1993.

·      The GMB’s UK map can be found at http://www.gmb.org.uk/assets/media/documents/Carillion/GMB15.nat_22-23fnl.pdf

·      Broadspire has been appointed to administer the scheme. Broadspire is a specialist administration company that will run the scheme independently of the eight companies that have developed and are funding the scheme.

·      Broadspire does not have access to TCA records or any other information on any individual whose name might have appeared on TCA records. The information held on TCA records about an individual will only be available to Broadspire when an applicant signs a form to give it permission to obtain his or her record held by the ICO.

 

2 NUMBERS BLACKLISTED BY AREA IN SCOTLAND

Town

Area

Number of Blacklisted workers

     

Scotland total known

 

582

Aberdeen

 

14

Aberdeenshire

 

13

Airdrie

North Lanarkshire

2

Alloa

Clackmannanshire

3

Ardrossan

North Ayrshire

15

Argyll

Argyll and Bute

1

Arrocher

Argyll and Bute

1

Ayrshire

 

8

Balloch

West Dunbartonshire

1

Balmoral

Aberdeenshire

1

Banffshire

Moray

3

Bathgate

West Lothian

1

Bellshill

North Lanarkshire

2

Bishopsbriggs

East Dunbartonshire

1

Blackhill

Glasgow

1

Bo'ness

Falkirk

2

Bridge of Allen

Stirling

1

Cairnburg

Aberdeenshire

1

Caithness

 

2

Carronshore

Falkirk

1

Clydebank

West Dunbartonshire

3

Coatbridge

North Lanarkshire

7

Cumbernauld

North Lanarkshire

5

Dalry

North Ayrshire

2

Dumbarton

West Dunbartonshire

4

Dumfries

Dumfries and Galloway

5

Dumfrieshire

Dumfries and Galloway

1

Dunblane

Stirling

1

Dundee

 

21

Dunfermline

Fife

3

East Fife

Fife

1

East Kilbride

South Lanarkshire

4

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

52

Elgin

Moray

1

Ellon

Aberdeenshire

1

Erskine

Renfrewshire

1

Falkirk

 

12

Faslane

Argyll and Bute

3

Fife

 

12

Fort William

Highland

1

Fraserburgh

Aberdeenshire

12

Glasgow

 

138

Glenrothes

Fife

3

Grampian

Aberdeenshire

2

Grangemouth

Falkirk

19

Greenock

Inverclyde

16

Hamilton

South Lanarkshire

1

Helensburgh

Argyll and Bute

2

Helmsdale

Highland

1

Inverkeithing

Fife

2

Inverness

Highland

5

Irvine

North Ayrshire

19

Johnstone

Renfrewshire

2

Kilbirnie

North Ayrshire

1

Kilmarnock

East Ayrshire

8

Kilsyth

North Lanarkshire

2

Kilwinning

North Ayrshire

5

Kirkcaldy

Fife

1

Lanark

South Lanarkshire

2

Lanarkshire

 

5

Largs

North Ayrshire

1

Larkhall

South Lanarkshire

1

Livingston

West Lothian

7

Lochgelly

Fife

1

Lumphinans

Fife

1

Midlothian

 

2

Mintlaw

Aberdeenshire

1

Monifeith

Angus

1

Montrose

Angus

4

Morayshire

Moray

1

Motherwell

North Lanarkshire

3

Musselburgh

East Lothian

1

Nairn

Highland

2

New Elgin

Moray

1

Orkney

 

1

Paisley

Renfrewshire

7

Perth

 

2

Peterhead

Aberdeenshire

16

Port Glasgow

Inverclyde

10

Renfrew

Renfrewshire

5

Ross

Highland

1

Rutherglen

South Lanarkshire

2

Saltcoats

North Ayrshire

10

Scotland

 

8

Shotts

North Lanarkshire

1

Skinflats

Falkirk

1

Stevenston

North Ayrshire

11

Stirling

 

4

Stirlingshire

Stirling

1

Strathclyde

East Ayrshire

2

Stuartfield

Aberdeenshire

1

Thurso

Highland

3

Uddington

South Lanarkshire

1

West Calder

West Lothian

1

West Kilbride

North Ayrshire

3

West Lothian

West Lothian

3

Woodisburn

Midlothian

1

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