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GMB Win £5.4m Against Blacklisters

Monday, May 9, 2016

Blacklisted GMB Workers Win £5.4 Million Against Construction Companies

Preventing 3,213 workers earning a living to support their families was a gross injustice and government and employers’ organisations must never forget this sordid episode says GMB.

GMB settled its claim against the construction industry for a total of £5.4m plus millions in legal costs with some members receiving up to £200,000, the union can announce. An agreement was reached on Friday 29th April 2016 but the details of the compensation could not be revealed until all claimants’ cases had been resolved.

The 116 blacklisted GMB members also received a full apology from the companies involved and legal costs amounting to almost £3m were reclaimed from the companies in full.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

GMB understand the total value of settlements for GMB, UCATT, GCR and Unite members is around £75m for 771 claimants including legal costs on both sides estimated at £25m. An unknown number of people, who in the face of continuing denial and obstruction from the companies, chose to take the much lower sums offered in their inferior compensation scheme.

Analysis of the figures show that the areas with the largest settlements for blacklisted workers were Humberside, £420,000 (10 workers), Greenock in Inverclyde with £405,000 (6 workers), London with £240,000 (9 workers) and Merseyside with £225,000 (2 workers). (See notes to editors for a full area breakdown).

The regional figures, shown in the table below, show Scotland has the highest settlement figure of £1,665,000 (32 workers) followed by the North West, £650,000 (13 workers) and Yorkshire & The Humber, £630,000 (17 workers).

Region

blacklisted workers

settlement

Scotland

31

£1,665,000

North West

13

£650,000

Yorkshire and the Humber

17

£630,000

South East

13

£590,000

Eastern

7

£360,000

London

9

£240,000

West Midlands

2

£225,000

South West

4

£215,000

Republic of Ireland

5

£200,000

North East

5

£150,000

Wales

2

£120,000

East Midlands

4

£115,000

Overseas

2

£115,000

Northern Ireland

2

£65,000

     

Total

116

£5,340,000

 

The claims were brought against Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI and concerned thirty years of blacklisting activities by them, the Economic League and the Consulting Association.

To the bitter end this litigation faced numerous obstacles, from both the defendants and incompetence from the Information Commissioners Office, who consistently failed to supply all the relevant information they held.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary said: “We have secured £5.4m of justice for the GMB members blacklisted by powerful construction companies who thought they were above the law. GMB is proud to have been the first union into the High Court and we are absolutely delighted that all of the blacklisting claimants have achieved generous settlements and a full apology from the blacklisting companies. For decades household name construction companies implemented an illegal blacklisting system, which denied a generation of trade union activists and health and safety reps an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. Finally they have been held to account in public and at great cost to them financially and reputationally.

Preventing 3,213 workers earning a living to support their families was a gross injustice and government and employers’ organisations must never forget this sordid episode. Without strong regulation and penalties holding them to account, employers will always be tempted to put profit above people.”

Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director said: “We have always felt that our members deserved substantial compensation, and today we are satisfied that we have achieved the best settlements possible from the blacklisters.  All GMB could ever get for our members was compensation and a full apology. We could never get back years of their family lives stolen by the blacklisters who believed it was acceptable in Britain to put their profits ahead of health and safety and ordinary people lives and trade union voice in the workplace.

The companies involved tried to keep this dirty little secret hidden. GMB was determined to ensure that that was not going to happen and we have fought tooth and nail to ensure a just outcome.

To the bitter end, the companies have remained in denial that they were blacklisters, fearful that public acknowledgement could cost them public sector contracts worth billions of pounds.”

End

Contact: Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or 07739 182691

Notes to editors

1. A week before the trial was due to start the ICO made further disclosures which should have been disclosed many months earlier.

2. Table showing numbers of workers and settlements received by area:

 

Blacklisted workers

Amount

Town

 

10

£420,000

Humberside

 

6

£405,000

Greenock

Inverclyde

9

£240,000

London

 

2

£225,000

Merseyside

 

1

£200,000

Sutton Coldfield

 

4

£175,000

Co Donegal

 

3

£155,000

Glasgow

 

1

£140,000

Renfrew

 

3

£120,000

Ardrossan

North Ayrshire

2

£115,000

Overseas

 

2

£100,000

Irvine

Ayrshire

1

£90,000

Chelmsford

Essex

1

£90,000

Laindon

Essex

1

£90,000

Cardiff

 

1

£90,000

Gourock

Inverclyde

1

£90,000

Grangemouth

Stirlingshire

1

£90,000

Port Glasgow

 

2

£85,000

Ellesmere Port

Cheshire

3

£80,000

Rotherham

 

1

£80,000

Rainham

Kent

1

£80,000

Strood

Medway

1

£80,000

Swindon

 

1

£80,000

Hamilton

 

2

£75,000

Teesside

 

3

£75,000

Tyne & Wear

 

1

£75,000

Lancaster

 

1

£70,000

Chorley

Lancashire

1

£70,000

Pudsey

West Yorkshire

1

£70,000

Redhilll

Surrey

1

£70,000

Livingston

 

1

£65,000

Loughborough

 

2

£65,000

Londonderry

 

1

£60,000

Dartford

Kent

1

£60,000

Milton Keynes

 

1

£60,000

Portland

Dorset

2

£60,000

Edinburgh

 

1

£55,000

Ringwood

Hampshire

1

£50,000

Billericay

Essex

2

£50,000

Southampton

 

2

£50,000

Paisley

 

1

£50,000

Stevenston

North Ayrshire

1

£45,000

Dagenham

Essex

1

£40,000

Barnstaple

Devon

1

£40,000

Duntocher

Clydebank

1

£35,000

Kirkby Stephen

Cumbria

1

£35,000

Runcorn

Cheshire

1

£35,000

Warrington

 

1

£35,000

Stowmarket

Suffolk

1

£35,000

Bromley

Kent

1

£35,000

Rochester

Kent

1

£35,000

Dunsford

Devon

1

£30,000

Blackpool

 

1

£30,000

Dover

 

1

£30,000

Llanelli

 

1

£25,000

Barrow-in-Furness

Cumbria

1

£25,000

Bury

 

1

£25,000

Keighley

 

1

£25,000

Wakefield

 

1

£25,000

Scunthorpe

North Lincs

1

£25,000

Walsall

 

1

£25,000

Canvey Island

Essex

1

£25,000

Romford

Essex

1

£25,000

Portsmouth

 

1

£25,000

Aberdeen

 

1

£25,000

Cowdenbeath

Fife

1

£25,000

Falkirk

 

1

£25,000

Parkhall

Clydebank

1

£25,000

West Kilbride

North Ayrshire

1

£25,000

County Galway

 

1

£15,000

Sleaford

Lincolnshire

1

£10,000

Manchester

 

1

£10,000

Sheffield

 

1

£10,000

Nottingham

 

1

£10,000

Oxford

 
 

3. The following extracts are from GMB witness statements in the High Court:

Witness A’s wife said: “Blacklisting stopped us having a family. We had our daughter in 1986, but this was much later than we wanted to. We had planned to have more children but without my husband being in work we couldn’t afford to.”

Witness B said: “When I was being refused work, or told there were no starts, I felt despair at not being protected because I was a safety rep. I thought the law would protect me in a situation like that. It was so frustrating sending out CVs and getting no responses. I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall.”

Witness C said: “People thought I did not want to work, which was not the case and as a result I became more reclusive and felt left out. My brother thought I wasn’t working because I did not want to, rather than I could not get a job. He started looking at me a different way, as if he was thinking “haven’t you got a job yet?”……. I felt I was an embarrassment to my brother”

Witness D said: “I always enjoy my work, and take pride in doing a job well. Hearing about the blacklist caused a lot of bad memories to flood back about how my employment struggles affected my family and finances. We used to have to get milk tokens for my daughter’s milk, and we never had proper holidays.

I did not even have the money to buy my wife some flowers when she gave birth to our daughter.

My wife thought I was not trying hard enough to get work, and I did not know what I was doing wrong. She also had to work two jobs to make sure we kept our heads above water, and I found it very upsetting that I could not provide enough money for my family.

Once I picked up my daughter from school and the teacher took me to one side. She said that she had been in tears, and when they asked her what it was about, she had told them that she had heard her parents arguing and thought that no-one wanted to work with her dad.”

Witness D’s wife said: “I blamed my husband for not finding work when I knew that there was work available in construction in our area.

He used to leave home at 6am to search for work. He came back home around teatime.

When we were able to go on holiday, my husband did not come as we could not afford to pay for 3 people and he stayed at home to look for work.”

Witness E said: “I still feel traumatised by the deaths of my friends and colleagues on the site, and it appears now that I have been punished for standing up to show how their deaths were preventable. I believe that I was blacklisted in a vindictive and malicious way for standing up for the right thing.”

Witness E’s wife said: “I remember the stress of the weekly grocery shopping and having to choose what we could afford to buy. There were some weeks where we would go without things because others were needed more urgently. I recall having to put off buying soap and washing powder because essentials like food obviously came first.

I don’t believe that my husband has ever fully recovered from the events……. or from the distress he felt he felt about not being able to find work after it.”

4. Companies known to have used The Consulting Association blacklist:

Amec Building Ltd

Kier Ltd

Amec Construction Ltd

John Mowlem Ltd  -Ex Member

Amec Facilities Ltd

Laing O’Rourk (Laing Ltd)

Amec Ind Div

Lovell Construction (UK) Ltd – Ex Member

Amec Process & Energy Ltd

Miller Construction Limited – Ex Member

Amey Construction – Ex Member

Morgan Ashurst

B Sunley & Sons – Ex Member

Morgan Est

Balfour Beatty

Morrison Construction Group – Ex Member

Balfour Kilpatrick

N G Bailey

Ballast (Wiltshire) PLc – Ex Member

Shepherd Engineering Services

Bam Construction (HBC Construction)

Sias Building Services

Bam Nuttall (Edmund Nutall Ltd)

Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd

C B & I

Skanska (Kaverna/Trafalgar

Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd

House Plc)

Costain UK Ltd

SPIE (Matthew Hall) - Ex Member

Crown House Technologies

Taylor Woodrow Construction Ltd – Ex Member

(Carillion/Tarmac Const)

Turriff Construction Ltd –Ex Member

Diamond M & E Services

Tysons Contractors – Ex Member

Dudley Bower & Co Ltd – Ex Member

Walter Llewellyn & Sons Ltd - Ex Member

Emcor (Drake & Scull) - ‘Ex Ref’

Whessoe Oil & Gas

Emcor Rail

Willmott Dixon – Ex Member

G Wimpey Ltd – Ex Member

Vinci PLC (Norwest Holst Group).

Haden Young

 
   

Names in brackets indicate where companies have undergone a change of name or where subsidiaries have been absorbed by parent companies.

5. Managers named as blacklisters (Most initials are from the files of those blacklisted.)

Michael Aird (MA) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow

Kathy Almansoor (KA) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire

Dave Aspinall (DA) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton

Alan Audley (AA) – Vinci - Watford

John Ball (JB) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton

Ron Barron (RB) - CB & I – Tonbridge, Kent

Valerie Bennison (VB) – Whessoe - Darlington

Ernie Boswell (EB) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire

Richard Bull (RB) - HBG Construction (BAM) – Colindale, London

Iain Coates (IC) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham

David Cochrane (DC) - Sir Robert McAlpine – Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

Ann Cowrie (AC) - Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering - Edinburgh

Tony Crowther – AMEC – Knutsford, Cheshire

John Dangerfield (JD) - Balfour Beatty Scottish & Southern - Basingstoke, Hampshire

Lynn Day (LD) - Cleveland Bridge UK – Darlington

John Dickinson (JD) – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Frank Duggan (FD) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton

John Edwards (JE) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton

Kevin Gorman (KG) - Carillion / Crown House - Solihull

Elaine Gallagher (EG) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow

Gerry Harvey (GH) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow

Roy Hay (RH) – Tarmac - Solihull

David Hillman - Sir Robert McAlpine – Birmingham

Keith Horner (KH) - Ballast Wiltshire

Dianne Hughes (DH) – Tarmac / Crown House  - Solihull

Geoff Hughes (GH) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire

Greg Ingleton (GI) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham

Prue Jackson (PJ) - Haden Young - Watford

Vince James (VJ) - Balfour Beatty Scottish & Southern – Basingstoke, Hampshire

Armar Johnston (AJ) - Balfour Kilpatrick – Livingstone

Liz Keates (LK) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton

Sheila Knight (SK) – Emcor – Kew Bridge, Twickenham

Ian Leake (IL) - Taylor Woodrow, Watford

Tim Llewellyn (TL) - Walter Llewellyn & Sons Ltd, Eastbourne, East Sussex

Alf Lucas (AL) – Mowlem

Bridget May (BM) – Nuttall – Camberley, Surrey

Cullum McAlpine - Sir Robert McAlpine – Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire

Paul McCreath (PM) - HBG Construction (BAM) – Colindale, London

Steve McGuire (SM) - Morgan Est plc – Warrington

John Morrison (JM) - Morrison Construction - Edinburgh

Arnold Nestler (AN) - AMEC – Knutsford, Cheshire

Lisa O’Mahoney (LOM) - Laing O’Rourke – Dartford, Kent

Danny O’Sullivan (DOS) - Kier Group – Sandy, Bedfordshire

Sandy Palmer (SP) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton

Harry Pooley (HP) - Rosser & Russell - Watford

Derek Price – Morgan Ashurst – Stratford upon Avon

Stephen Quant (SQ) – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Paul Raby (PR) - Balfour Kilpatrick - Glasgow

Murray Reid (MR) - NG Bailey – Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Roger Robinson (RR) - Carillion / Crown House - Wolverhampton

Sylvia Smith (SS) - Laing O’Rourke – Dartford, Kent

Trevor Spice (TS) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire

Lisa Stevenson (LS) - Shepherd Engineering Services - York

John Stoddart (JS) - SIAS Building Services - Keighley

Alan Swift – Crown House Technologies - Manchester

Pat Swift (PS) - BAM Nuttall - Guildford

Alan Thorniley (AT) – Vinci - Watford

Brian Tock (BT) - Carillion / Crown House - Solihull

Ken Ward (KW) – Costain – Maidenhead, Berkshire

Trevor Watchman (TW) - Balfour Beatty Major Projects – Redhill, Surrey

Steve Wigmore – Crown House Technologies - Solihull

Allison Wilkins – Skanska – Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Carolyn Williams (CW) - Haden Young – Watford

6. Where blacklisted workers came from.

Blacklisted workers – number in each area

 

 

 

 

Location

Number on the blacklist

 

Location

Number on the blacklist

 

 

Aberdeen City

14

 

Kent

95

Aberdeenshire

54

 

Kingston upon Hull

62

Anglesey

3

 

Lancashire

60

Angus

5

 

Leeds

53

Argyll & Bute

7

 

Leicestershire

5

Bath and North East Somerset

1

 

Lincolnshire

13

Bedfordshire

4

 

Manchester

183

Berkshire

2

 

Merseyside

173

Birmingham

69

 

Midlothian

3

Bristol

25

 

Monmouthshire

9

Buckinghamshire

20

 

Norfolk

7

Cambridgeshire

12

 

North Ayrshire

67

Cardiff

10

 

North Lanarkshire

22

Ceredigion

9

 

North Yorkshire

12

Cheshire

64

 

Northamptonshire

14

City of London

454

 

Northern Ireland

1

Clackmannanshire

3

 

Northumberland

7

Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

3

 

Nottinghamshire

12

Cumbria

27

 

Orkney Islands

1

Denbighshire

34

 

Oxfordshire

8

Derbyshire

16

 

Perth & Kinross

2

Devon

19

 

Powys

2

Dorset

8

 

Redcar and Cleveland

43

Dumfries & Galloway

6

 

Renfrewshire

15

Dundee City

21

 

Rhondda Cynon Taf

2

Durham

11

 

Rhondda, Cynon, Taff

3

East Ayrshire

18

 

Rotherham

56

East Lothian

1

 

Shropshire

2

East Riding of Yorkshire

16

 

Somerset

5

East Sussex

8

 

South Lanarkshire

16

Edinburgh, City of

52

 

Southern Ireland

1

Essex

57

 

Staffordshire

16

Falkirk

35

 

Stirling

7

Fife

24

 

Suffolk

9

Glasgow City

140

 

Surrey

32

Gloucestershire

32

 

Swansea

15

Gwynedd

12

 

Tyne & Wear

69

Hampshire

50

 

Warwickshire

1

Hereford & Worcester

3

 

West Dunbartonshire

8

Hertfordshire

14

 

West Lothian

12

Highland

15

 

West Sussex

11

Inverclyde

26

 

Wiltshire

5

Isle of Wight

1

 

Wokingham

10

 

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