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Blacklist breakthrough?

9th October 2015

Blacklist breakthrough?

Blacklisting firms run up the white flag

During this morning’s hearing at the High Court for the blacklisting group litigation conspiracy trial, the majority of blacklisting firms in the trial represented by McFarlands solicitors submitted a revised set of legal pleadings. The document accepts virtually all of the facts about the workings of the Consulting Association blacklist argued by lawyers representing the 700 claimants. Hugh Tomlinson QC representing the blacklisted workers called the revised document a “radical transformation” and a move “on the path to righteousness”

David Kavender QC representing the major blacklisting firms told the court that his clients effectively accepted vicarious liability for the misuse of the blacklist. The admission and apology is the result of High Court legal action by the Blacklisting Support Group, Unite, GMB, UCATT and against 40 major construction firms involved in blacklisting through the secretive Consulting Association and Services Group of the Economic League. Those companies include Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Skanska, Kier, Vinci and Laing O’Rourke. It is estimated that compensation payouts could be around £100 million.

Full implications are still to be discussed and agreed as most lawyers have only seen the revised pleadings today. Other remaining blacklisting firms have not made any decisions whether they are to prepared to “hitch their wagons to the McFarlands caravan”. Lawyers for blacklisted workers will now be discussing their combined response.

Dave Smith, secretary Blacklist Support Group was in the court and commented:

“The blacklisting wretches have run up the white flag. They are guilty as sin and this is a desperate attempt to to try and avoid the spectacle of a High Court conspiracy trail. Personally, I want to see the directors of this national scandal given evidence under oath about their involvement in this systematic human rights abuse. Real justice would see those responsible for ruining so many lives sent to jail.

Unfortunately the British legal system is unlikely to provide real justice but we will continue to push for full disclosure of the evidence that has been deliberately concealed and a public inquiry to expose the full extent of this national scandal”.

Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Blacklisting has ruined lives and led to hardship and misery for thousands of people. The admissions from the blacklisters and the damages for the blacklisted are an important step on the road to justice in righting that wrong.

“That road won’t be completed though, or the stain of blacklisting removed, until there is a full public inquiry and the livelihoods of the blacklisted restored by the firms involved giving them a permanent job.

“Those Tory ministers, who profess to be on the side of workers, while attacking trade unions should take note of these landmark admissions. They need to drop their draconian Trade Union bill which will make it easier for bad bosses to get away with injustices like blacklisting.”

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