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130 Blacklisted in North East

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Areas in North East where 130 blacklisted workers either lived or worked revealed as GMB steps up campaign for justice and compensation.

People have been deprived of an honest living through these illegal tactics which has blighted their families’ lives and not a single company has yet been punished nor have any of them paid compensation says GMB.

GMB, the union for construction workers, has revealed the areas in North East where it is known that at least 130 workers on the construction industry blacklist either lived or worked. The 30 areas on the list in the region are set out in the table below. Less than 10% 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 autumn 2012 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%, 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.

After GMB representation ICO finally agreed to supply names, date of birth, trade and town to enable a check against our own membership records to find our members on the blacklist. GMB 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.

GMB now publish the table below, based on the locations in the region supplied by ICO to the union, to prompt more responses. Leigh Day is prepared to assist others who may come forward who may be on the list.

Construction workers from these areas who were trade union and health and safety activists and were denied work for reasons they could not explain are asked to get in touch so that GMB can cross check the records for them. See details of how to contact GMB below.

Numbers blacklisted by area in North East

Town Area Number of Blacklisted workers
     
North East region   130
     
Berwick-upon-Tweed Northumberland 1
Choppington Northumberland 1
Cleveland   7
County Durham - unspecified   3
Darlington   2
Durham   1
Gateshead Gateshead 8
Hartlepool Hartlepool 18
Heaton Newcastle upon Tyne 2
Jarrow South Tyneside 3
Middlesbrough   11
Newcastle upon Tyne   35
North East Newcastle upon Tyne 2
North Shields North Tyneside 3
Northumberland- unspecified   5
Peterlee Durham 1
Port Clarence Stockton-on-Tees 1
Redcar Redcar and Cleveland 3
Seaham Durham 1
Seaton Durham 1
Sedgefield Durham 1
Silksworth Sunderland 1
South Shields South Tyneside 6
Stockton Stockton-on-Tees 3
Sunderland   2
Trimdon Grange Durham 1
Tyne & Wear - unspecified   4
Tyneside -unspecified   1
Wallsend North Tyneside 1
Washington Sunderland 1

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said "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.

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."

End

Contact: Media calls to GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823

Notes to Editors

If you can help us identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on 01603 742 877 or 07840 897997 or email him p.read20@ntlworld.com.

Call Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or email him at justin.bowden@gmb.org.uk if you can help your local council put pressure on to get compensation.

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