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Pitchford Inquiry Must Cover Scottish Blacklisting

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

GMB Slam Pitchford Undercover Police Inquiry For Not Covering Blacklisting In Scotland

The Scottish Government should examine with the UK Government how to extend the Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing in Scotland says GMB Scotland.

Theresa May established the Pitchford Inquiry in March 2015 to look into undercover policing and it will not now be extended to Scotland, only exposing discreditable conduct by undercover police officers in England and Wales

There were 582 blacklisted workers from Scotland who were named on the Consulting Association blacklist database. David Clancy, ICO Investigations manager and former police officer, stated at an Employment Tribunal case that some of the information held in the Consulting Association database could only have come from the police or security services.

Scottish blacklisted workers lived or worked in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll & Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney Islands, Perth & Kinross, Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire. (See notes to editors for a full list of Scottish workers and towns)

31 blacklisted workers from Scotland recently settled their claims against the blacklisting companies for £1,665,000. Anyone who has not yet made a claim, please contact us to see if we can assist. (See notes to editors for a full list of Scottish settled claims).

The current Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Phil Gormley, was previously a commander of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Branch which included the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). Peter Francis, the former undercover officer and whistleblower, stated he spied on trade unions while an officer with the SDS. (See notes to editors for a copy of Peter Francis statement)

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

The claims were brought against Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI and concerned thirty years of blacklisting activities by them, the Economic League and the Consulting Association.

Gary Smith, Secretary GMB Scotland, said “Pitchford’s attempt to exclude us is a classic example of the UK not meeting its responsibilities to provide justice for Scottish workers who, when GMB last looked, are still part of the United Kingdom.

The fact that the Pitchford Inquiry will not extend to Scotland is a kick in the teeth and an insult to the 582 blacklisted workers from Scotland, many of whom may have been spied on by the police.

It is of the utmost importance that allegations of police involvement in the blacklisting of construction workers and environmental activists are thoroughly examined and this can only be done when looking at all part of the United Kingdom. The Scottish Government must launch its own inquiry to examine undercover policing in Scotland.

Blacklisting had a devastating impact on hundreds of Scottish workers and their families. A wife of a blacklisted worker said ‘Blacklisting stopped us having a family. We had our daughter in 1986, but this was much later than we wanted to. We had planned to have more children but without my husband being in work we couldn’t afford to.’

How can Pitchford be excluded from people like this in their search for the truth?"

End

Contact: Peter Welsh, GMB Scotland Communications, 07976 447 077; Gary Smith, 07710 618909; Maria Ludkin, 07956 632 657 or GMB press office on 07970 863411 or press.office@gmb.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1 Numbers blacklisted by area in Scotland

Town

Area

Number of Blacklisted workers

 

 

 

Scotland total known

 

582

Aberdeen

 

14

Aberdeenshire

 

13

Airdrie

North Lanarkshire

2

Alloa

Clackmannanshire

3

Ardrossan

North Ayrshire

15

Argyll

Argyll and Bute

1

Arrocher

Argyll and Bute

1

Ayrshire

 

8

Balloch

West Dunbartonshire

1

Balmoral

Aberdeenshire

1

Banffshire

Moray

3

Bathgate

West Lothian

1

Bellshill

North Lanarkshire

2

Bishopsbriggs

East Dunbartonshire

1

Blackhill

Glasgow

1

Bo'ness

Falkirk

2

Bridge of Allen

Stirling

1

Cairnburg

Aberdeenshire

1

Caithness

 

2

Carronshore

Falkirk

1

Clydebank

West Dunbartonshire

3

Coatbridge

North Lanarkshire

7

Cumbernauld

North Lanarkshire

5

Dalry

North Ayrshire

2

Dumbarton

West Dunbartonshire

4

Dumfries

Dumfries and Galloway

5

Dumfrieshire

Dumfries and Galloway

1

Dunblane

Stirling

1

Dundee

 

21

Dunfermline

Fife

3

East Fife

Fife

1

East Kilbride

South Lanarkshire

4

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

52

Elgin

Moray

1

Ellon

Aberdeenshire

1

Erskine

Renfrewshire

1

Falkirk

 

12

Faslane

Argyll and Bute

3

Fife

 

12

Fort William

Highland

1

Fraserburgh

Aberdeenshire

12

Glasgow

 

138

Glenrothes

Fife

3

Grampian

Aberdeenshire

2

Grangemouth

Falkirk

19

Greenock

Inverclyde

16

Hamilton

South Lanarkshire

1

Helensburgh

Argyll and Bute

2

Helmsdale

Highland

1

Inverkeithing

Fife

2

Inverness

Highland

5

Irvine

North Ayrshire

19

Johnstone

Renfrewshire

2

Kilbirnie

North Ayrshire

1

Kilmarnock

East Ayrshire

8

Kilsyth

North Lanarkshire

2

Kilwinning

North Ayrshire

5

Kirkcaldy

Fife

1

Lanark

South Lanarkshire

2

Lanarkshire

 

5

Largs

North Ayrshire

1

Larkhall

South Lanarkshire

1

Livingston

West Lothian

7

Lochgelly

Fife

1

Lumphinans

Fife

1

Midlothian

 

2

Mintlaw

Aberdeenshire

1

Monifeith

Angus

1

Montrose

Angus

4

Morayshire

Moray

1

Motherwell

North Lanarkshire

3

Musselburgh

East Lothian

1

Nairn

Highland

2

New Elgin

Moray

1

Orkney

 

1

Paisley

Renfrewshire

7

Perth

 

2

Peterhead

Aberdeenshire

16

Port Glasgow

Inverclyde

10

Renfrew

Renfrewshire

5

Ross

Highland

1

Rutherglen

South Lanarkshire

2

Saltcoats

North Ayrshire

10

Scotland

 

8

Shotts

North Lanarkshire

1

Skinflats

Falkirk

1

Stevenston

North Ayrshire

11

Stirling

 

4

Stirlingshire

Stirling

1

Strathclyde

East Ayrshire

2

Stuartfield

Aberdeenshire

1

Thurso

Highland

3

Uddington

South Lanarkshire

1

West Calder

West Lothian

1

West Kilbride

North Ayrshire

3

West Lothian

West Lothian

3

Woodisburn

Midlothian

1

 

2. Table showing numbers of workers and settlements received by area:

Blacklisted workers

Town

Amount

6

Greenock

£405,000

3

Glasgow

£155,000

1

Renfrew

£140,000

3

Ardrossen

£120,000

2

Irvine

£100,000

1

Gourock

£90,000

1

Grangemouth

£90,000

1

Port Glasgow

£90,000

1

Hamilton

£80,000

1

Livingstone

£70,000

2

Edinburgh

£60,000

2

Paisley

£50,000

1

Stevenston, North Ayrshire

£50,000

1

Duntocher, Clydebank

£40,000

1

Aberdeen

£25,000

1

Cowdenbeath

£25,000

1

Falkirk

£25,000

1

Parkhall, Clydebank

£25,000

1

West Kilbride, North Ayrshire

 

2 GMB press release dated Monday, May 9, 2016

Blacklisted GMB Workers Win £5.4 Million Against Construction Companies

Preventing 3,213 workers earning a living to support their families was a gross injustice and government and employers’ organisations must never forget this sordid episode says GMB.

GMB settled its claim against the construction industry for a total of £5.4m plus millions in legal costs with some members receiving up to £200,000, the union can announce. An agreement was reached on Friday 29th April 2016 but the details of the compensation could not be revealed until all claimants’ cases had been resolved.

The 116 blacklisted GMB members also received a full apology from the companies involved and legal costs amounting to almost £3m were reclaimed from the companies in full.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

GMB understand the total value of settlements for GMB, UCATT, GCR and Unite members is around £75m for 771 claimants including legal costs on both sides estimated at £25m. An unknown number of people, who in the face of continuing denial and obstruction from the companies, chose to take the much lower sums offered in their inferior compensation scheme.

Analysis of the figures show that the areas with the largest settlements for blacklisted workers were Humberside, £420,000 (10 workers), Greenock in Inverclyde with £405,000 (6 workers), London with £240,000 (9 workers) and Merseyside with £225,000 (2 workers). (See notes to editors for a full area breakdown).

The regional figures, shown in the table below, show Scotland has the highest settlement figure of £1,665,000 (32 workers) followed by the North West, £650,000 (13 workers) and Yorkshire & The Humber, £630,000 (17 workers).

 

Region

blacklisted workers

settlement

Scotland

31

£1,665,000

North West

13

£650,000

Yorkshire and the Humber

17

£630,000

South East

13

£590,000

Eastern

7

£360,000

London

9

£240,000

West Midlands

2

£225,000

South West

4

£215,000

Republic of Ireland

5

£200,000

North East

5

£150,000

Wales

2

£120,000

East Midlands

4

£115,000

Overseas

2

£115,000

Northern Ireland

2

£65,000

 

 

 

Total

116

£5,340,000

 

The claims were brought against Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI and concerned thirty years of blacklisting activities by them, the Economic League and the Consulting Association.

To the bitter end this litigation faced numerous obstacles, from both the defendants and incompetence from the Information Commissioners Office, who consistently failed to supply all the relevant information they held.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary said: “We have secured £5.4m of justice for the GMB members blacklisted by powerful construction companies who thought they were above the law. GMB is proud to have been the first union into the High Court and we are absolutely delighted that all of the blacklisting claimants have achieved generous settlements and a full apology from the blacklisting companies. For decades household name construction companies implemented an illegal blacklisting system, which denied a generation of trade union activists and health and safety reps an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families. Finally they have been held to account in public and at great cost to them financially and reputationally.

Preventing 3,213 workers earning a living to support their families was a gross injustice and government and employers’ organisations must never forget this sordid episode. Without strong regulation and penalties holding them to account, employers will always be tempted to put profit above people.”

Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director said: “We have always felt that our members deserved substantial compensation, and today we are satisfied that we have achieved the best settlements possible from the blacklisters.  All GMB could ever get for our members was compensation and a full apology. We could never get back years of their family lives stolen by the blacklisters who believed it was acceptable in Britain to put their profits ahead of health and safety and ordinary people lives and trade union voice in the workplace.

The companies involved tried to keep this dirty little secret hidden. GMB was determined to ensure that that was not going to happen and we have fought tooth and nail to ensure a just outcome.

To the bitter end, the companies have remained in denial that they were blacklisters, fearful that public acknowledgement could cost them public sector contracts worth billions of pounds.”

End

GMB press release dated Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Blacklisted GMB Workers Get High Court Apology From Construction Companies

Most of the biggest construction companies in the land apologised for the part they played in the secret blacklisting of 3,213 building workers and environmental activists and they will hang their heads in shame for the lives they destroyed with their arrogance and contempt says GMB.

Today, in the Royal Courts of Justice, the construction companies involved in the blacklisting case have apologised to the blacklisted workers for the untold damage and destroyed lives that they caused over decades for denying work to trade union members. (See notes to editors for defendants’ apology – point 29-31)

The 116 blacklisted GMB members received a full apology as well as receiving £5.4m in compensation when the agreement was reached on Friday 29th April 2016. GMB understand the total value of settlements for GMB, UCATT, GCR and Unite members is around £75m for 771 claimants including legal costs on both sides estimated at £25m.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

The claims were brought against Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI and concerned thirty years of blacklisting activities by them, the Economic League and the Consulting Association.

Counsel for the Defendants said: “The Defendants are here today to offer, through me, their sincere and unreserved apologies to the Claimants for any damage caused. The Defendants apologise as providers of any information and for the loss of employment suffered as a result of communication of information during the operation of the Consulting Association. They also apologise for the anxiety and hurt to feelings caused as a result.”

Maria Ludkin, GMB Legal Director said: “All GMB could ever get for our members was compensation and a full apology. Today we feel truly vindicated to receive this apology for our blacklisted members. Despite years of denials, today the greedy goliaths have been forced to apologise and account for their unlawful blacklisting.”

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer said: “In the Royal Courts of Justice today, and with their heads bowed before Lord Justice Supperstone, Carillion, Sir Robert McAlpine and most of the biggest construction companies in the land apologised for the part they played in the secret blacklisting of 3,213 building workers and environmental activists. They will hang their heads in shame for the lives they destroyed with their arrogance and contempt.

Government and employers’ organisations must never forget this sordid episode. Without strong regulation and penalties holding them to account, employers will always be tempted to put profit above people.”

End

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