Plymouth workers 'blacklisted' in construction industry database scandal, says union
AT LEAST five city construction workers were unfairly "blacklisted" by industry big-wigs, it has been claimed.
Union chiefs are angry at a database, revealed in 2009, which 44 companies used to apparently vet new recruits.
More than 3,000 people's names were on the list - and it is said to have been used by some firms to keep out trade union and health and safety activists.
Now a fresh breakdown of where all 3,213 workers lived shows five were from Plymouth.
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Fourteen were from elsewhere in the county, and three from Cornwall.
None of the workers have been named.
But the GMB union says many were deprived of making an honest living through what it branded "illegal tactics".
None of the companies accused of using the list have been forced to pay compensation.
The union says at least 98 workers on the construction industry blacklist either lived or worked in the South West region.
Less than 10 per cent of them know they are on the list and none have been compensated.
The blacklist first came to light when in 2009, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers which was used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.
The ICO never contacted anyone on the list to let them know they were blacklisted.
By last autumn only 194 of the 3,213 people on the blacklist knew three years later that they were on the list as these had contacted the ICO directly.
The list shows where 2,554 lived or worked.
For 659, or 20 per cent, no proper addresses are given.
The ICO using National Insurance details could, with help of DWP, find current addresses for most of 3,213 but they have not done so, the union says.
It says the ICO finally agreed to supply names, date of birth, trade and town to enable a check against GMB membership records after the union made the request.
It found nearly 200 exact matches and the union is working with these members to get their files from ICO.
Leigh Day is preparing litigation to get them compensation at no cost to these members, it said in a press release today.
General secretary Paul Kenny added: "People have been deprived of an honest living through these illegal tactics which has blighted their families' lives.
"They have been the victims of injustice over many years by multi- national companies- now seeking to live off public sector contracts.
"Not a single company has yet been punished nor have any of them paid compensation.
"The GMB priority now is to step up the campaign to get each and every GMB members blacklisted proper compensation.
"GMB is also still pushing ICO for a proactive action to inform all construction workers on the list that they are on the blacklist.
"Blacklisting was not something isolated or rare.
"A GMB report estimated, that in one quarter, that Carillion for example checked 2,776 names with the Consulting Association and in the period from October 1999 to April 2004 it estimates that Carillion checked at least 14,724 names.
"We are asking construction workers who worked for a Carillion company like Crown House, Schal International, SkyBlue Employment Agency, Tarmac, John Mowlem or Carillion itself or any of the other 44 companies to contact us.
"GMB is also calling on local councils not to award any new public work to the companies that operated the blacklist till they compensate those they damaged."