Blacklisters to launch counterfeit compensation scheme

Construction union UCATT has learned that the companies at the heart of the blacklisting scandal are set to defy Parliament and launch their own “counterfeit” compensation scheme later this month.

Last year it emerged that eight of the leading blacklisting companies (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci Plc) were creating a scheme to “compensate” blacklisted construction workers.

However when the details of the scheme emerged it quickly became clear that workers who had, their lives destroyed by blacklisting would receive just a few thousand pounds in compensation and that the true aim of the The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) was a PR exercise to restore the tarnished reputation of the blacklisters. In a further demonstrate the PR nature of the exercise the blacklisters have engaged major lobbyists Grayling to act for them.

Unions including UCATT and blacklisted workers have met with the representatives of the TCWCS but the proposed scheme remains unfit for purpose and no agreement on supporting the scheme has been reached.

Last month the cross party Scottish Affairs Select Committee issued their latest report into blacklisting. The chair of the committee Ian Davidson MP made clear that it was not acceptable for blacklisters to establish a unilateral compensation scheme. He said: “restitution must be made. It must not be left just to the companies themselves to determine what this should be, but it must be agreed after negotiations with the relevant trade unions and representatives of blacklisted workers.”  Mr Davidson, also said: “Companies that ………do not make the proper reparations…..should be blacklisted themselves and barred from obtaining any publicly funded work.”

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “I can’t believe the arrogance of the blacklisting companies. They are intent on ignoring the will of Parliament and launching a counterfeit compensation scheme. They are just interested in their own PR. Their scheme will in no way recompense blacklisted workers who had their lives and the lives of their families destroyed by these companies.”

Other flaws in the scheme include:

  • Under the proposed TCWCS blacklisted workers could receive just £3,000 in compensation.
  • Any blacklisting activity which occurred by the Economic League prior to The Consulting Association being formed would be excluded from compensation, despite the TCA effectively being a continuation of the Economic League’s Services Group.
  • Not all the companies who were involved in blacklisting construction workers are members of the TCWCS.
  • The compensation scheme would be a behind closed doors paper based process which denies workers the opportunity to explain how blacklisting wrecked their lives.
  • Most workers would have to accept the proposed inferior “fast track scheme” with very low set amounts of compensation, based on the blacklisters evidence rather than their own actual experiences.
  • Under the schemes rules only a few workers would qualify for a so-called full review.If a worker agreed to enter the compensation scheme they would be effectively gagged and barred from taking further legal action against the blacklisters.

Steve Murphy added: “This scheme is flawed in so many places. Blacklisted workers should have nothing to do with it as it will in no way provide justice for them.”

UCATT is in the process of taking a large number of legal cases for its members against blacklisting companies for the misuse of private information and breach of confidence due to the personal and private information which was contained on their files.

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