Construction blacklist compensation scheme opens

Construction workers A blacklist in the construction industry was discovered in March 2009

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Eight construction firms have announced the launch of a scheme aimed at compensating workers who were victims of past blacklisting in the industry.

Under the scheme, workers on the list would be paid £4,000 on a fast-track basis rising to £20,000 if they can prove discrimination. In more serious cases, up to £100,000 could be awarded.

But the scheme has been denounced as "a PR stunt" by the GMB union.

The existence of blacklisting in construction was revealed in 2009.

In March of that year, the Information Commissioner's Office uncovered a list drawn up by a firm called the Consulting Association, based in Droitwich.

At the time, the ICO seized a database containing the names of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies.

The Consulting Association (TCA) has since been closed down.

'Unacceptable'

The scheme, to be known as The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS), is now accepting applications and will remain open for two years.

The companies involved are: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci PLC.

"All eight companies recognise that the activities of TCA were unacceptable and regret their involvement." said a statement issued by TCWCS.

"They are sorry that information was held about individuals and for any hardship suffered as a result."

But GMB national officer Justin Bowden said the scheme did not go far enough and said the sums of money involved were "grossly inadequate".

"This cut-price compensation offer is not an act of genuine contrition, it is a PR stunt," he said.

"The eight companies between them have a turnover of over £34bn and pre-tax profits of £1.04bn. They can afford to own up, clean up and pay up."

Under the fast-track process, workers whose names appeared on TCA's list are eligible for £4,000 in compensation, rising to a maximum of £20,000 "when there is evidence that the records had been accessed to the applicant's detriment". The money will be paid within two weeks.

Those who can prove that being blacklisted had an impact on their employment can choose to go in for a full review process, which will take three to six months. Under this part of the scheme, claimants can receive up to £100,000.

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