Union tries to trace blacklisted 200 workers

CONSTRUCTION workers who may have been blacklisted just for belonging to a union are being urged to come forward as lawyers prepare a legal case for compensation.

The GMB has revealed that 201 of the workers on a blacklist dating from the 1970s to 2009 came from Yorkshire and the Humber.

The greatest number – 62 – were from Hull, with 28 from Leeds and 26 from Sheffield. A dozen came from Doncaster, 14 from Rotherham and three from Huddersfield.

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It is believed more than 40 of the UK’s largest construction companies used the blacklist, uncovered in 2009 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

First names, surnames, dates of birth, trade and town have been given to lawyers acting for the GMB – but no current addresses. Just under 200 have contacted the ICO directly and another 200 have been traced by the GMB from their membership records.

Solicitor Michael Newman, who is preparing a case to take to the High Court, said: “Some of it was ‘this person is organising a strike, or this person raised a health and safety complaint, or the toilets are flooding’.

“We want as many people as possible to come forward – whether or not they take a case or not is up to them, but I think they should know whether they were on a list.

“Damages will be about whatever earnings they have lost; if an individual was resourceful and got work in the nearest supermarket on the same wages they haven’t got a claim. If they were unemployed it would be the wages they could have earned.”

GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said blacklisted workers “have been victims of injustice over many years by multi-national companies now seeking to live off public sector contracts”.

Workers could include trade union and health and safety activists, who were denied work for reasons they couldn’t explain.

Call Phil Read at the GMB on 01603 742877 or 07840 897997 or e-mail [email protected]