A workers union is taking legal action in order to seek compensation on behalf of workers which it claims have been unfairly blacklisted by one of the UK’s largest companies. The compensation claim could mean thousands win compensation if the union wins. The GMB has announced the accusations against the services giant, Carillion, stating that it has blacklisted hundreds of workers across in the United Kingdom. The accusations state that the case represents the construction industry equivalent of the newspaper’s phone hacking scandal. The report was recently published by the union following its annual conference which was held in Brighton. The paper said that it was pulling back the “curtain of secrecy” to reveal the ways in which larger firms such as Carillion deny workers the appropriate rights to their employment.
It seems that thousands of workers across the UK were entirely unaware that their names had appeared on blacklists with several companies, said the report. The GMB also revealed that it had been proactive and already instructed a legal firm in order to initiate the compensation claim for its blacklisted members. When asked about the compensation claim, the general secretary of the GMB, Paul Kenny, stated that “This report pulls back the curtain of secrecy to give a glimpse as to the way employers like Carillion have illegally used their power and money to blacklist citizens and to deny them their rights to employment.”
In a reply to the accusations, a spokesperson for Carillion said “Carillion does not condone or engage in blacklisting. It is not against unions and recognises trade unions for some of its workforce nationally.” The company spokesperson also pointed out that the “allegations of blacklisting are believed to concern matters that took place many years ago and relate to businesses acquired by Carillion.”
It went on to say that significant changes to the UK’s employment law have occurred in the intervening period. In spite of this, it assured that Carillion would take action, that the nature of the implications were very serious and an investigation is under way. It also said that, as the current matters are the subject of legal proceedings which could be considered threatening, that it’s not appropriate to comment in too much detail at this stage except to confirm that they will strongly defend themselves and investigate things thoroughly.
Jim Loxley is a Director at claims specialist, My Compensation