GMB Magazine GMB25 Pulse Summer 2016 - Page 12

VICTORIES FOR GMB r members Good news fo ! E C I T JUS GMB wins £5.34 million in compensation for members blacklisted by construction firms S WHAT IS BLACKLISTING? firms. The Consulting Association stored files on thousands of workers and would report back to management on whether or not the For many years, throughout the 70s, 80s and worker's name was on the 'blacklist'. 90s, huge construction firms – including GMB members were among those Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing 'blacklisted' and were O’Rourke, Sir Robert often denied work McAlpine, Skanska not trying for reasons they UK and VINCI – had “My wife thought I was rk, and I did could not access to secret files hard enough to get wo ing wrong. understand. There on building industry not know what I was do o jobs was no way of workers. These files She also had to work tw r heads knowing that you were held without to make sure we kept ou it very were on this list or the workers' above water, and I foundt provide what it said about knowledge and were upsetting that I could no family.” you. Many GMB consulted when enough money for my members suffered construction GMB Witness D simply because companies hired they had been workers. identified as belonging to a union, were In many cases, industry managers would environmental activists or, in some cases, turn to an organisation called the Consulting had stood up to their employer about poor Association and ask for information on working practices. workers who had applied for jobs with their CROCODILE TEARS GMB’s campaign to shame the blacklisters last year. HOW DID BLACKLISTING COME TO LIGHT? In 2009, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) seized a database from the Consulting Association. This contained 3,213 names of construction industry workers, and had been used by 44 companies to vet both new recruits and keep trade union and health and safety activists out of the building and construction industry. GMB forced the ICO to reveal information about workers named on the blacklist so that it could trace its members and fight for compensation. This fight has been ongoing for seven years and GMB vowed to continue until the companies involved took full responsibility for their actions and ensure that the companies were held accountable to avoid this happening again. ©iStock.com ince 2009, GMB has been fighting for compensation for members affected by the construction industry blacklisting scandal and to hold those companies responsible accountable so that it cannot happen again. In April 2016, GMB won a huge victory for those who had lost their jobs, livelihoods and professions, due to the illegal practice of blacklisting building workers, because they stood up for their rights or simply didn't agree with management decisions. The High Court in London decided that 116 GMB members had been unfairly blacklisted by the construction industry and ordered the companies responsible for this illegal practice to pay compensation to those workers – totalling over £5 million. The companies will also have to pay all legal costs. This is a significant victory for GMB and union members everywhere, with a further 655 workers from other unions receiving awards totalling almost £75 million. 12 GMB National GMB25.national_12_13.indd 12 20/06/2016 15:10