£1.9m payout for blacklisted construction workers secured

Aerial shot of workers onsite

UNITE the union has settled its long running blacklisting case against a number of construction firms, with affected workers sets to receive over £1.9 million in compensation.

As part of the overall settlement, which is subject to court approval, 53 blacklisted workers will receive compensation from Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI. The defendants have also agreed to pay Unite’s legal fees.

The construction companies convened have agreed to issue their own announcement, saying that they aim to work at national, regional and site level to ensure that the modern UK construction sector provides the highest standards of employment and HR practice.

The construction companies have also agreed to place £230,000 into a training fund, which will be administered by Unite, for all victims of blacklisting who have brought proceedings. The fund is not restricted to retraining in the construction sector.

The court case follows the 2016 court action which resulted in Unite securing £19.34 million for 412 blacklisted workers.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said, “This is a historic agreement which provides some degree of justice to a further group of construction workers who had their working lives needlessly ruined by blacklisting construction companies.

“The creation of a training fund controlled by Unite is a huge breakthrough, and is to be welcomed, as it will allow the union to assist victims of blacklisting return to employment.”

He added, “The backlisting construction companies promised public statement is welcome about their future good behaviour and a new relationship with unions, but these words must be followed up by genuine actions.

“If they are serious, they must provide genuine unrestricted access to their sites and workforces, end the practice of moving union activists from one job to another to disrupt union organisation, end the reliance on agency labour and end the scandal of bogus self-employment.”