Blacklisting payout hopes for construction workers

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Construction workers whose careers were blighted by being included on a notorious industry blacklist have moved a step closer to winning compensation.

More than 3,200 construction workers – including 56 from Rotherham – were blacklisted because of trade union activities or because they had complained about health and safety or environmental issues on sites they had worked on.

The blacklisting continued for more than 20 years and only came to light in 2009, when the Information Commissioner’s Office – ICO – seized a database held by a company called the Consulting Association.

According to lawyers representing some of the victims, many of the 3,200 do not know they are on the list.

“Large numbers don’t know because they haven’t been contacted by the Information Commissioner’s Office. We have been trying to get the ICO to get in touch with these people and that may now happen,” said Michael Newman, from solicitors Leigh Day.

Many of the addresses on the blacklist are long out of date, but, following a pilot scheme earlier this year, the ICO has been working with the Department for Work and Pensions to match National Insurance numbers of people on the blacklist with their current addresses.

The ICO has told The Star it expects to receive an update from the DWP in the coming weeks, after which it will write to as many people who were blacklisted as possible.

In the meantime, anyone who thinks they may have been blacklisted can find out by telephoning the ICO helpline: 0303 123 1113

Eight companies involved in the blacklisting – Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI – recently apologised for their involvement and have set up a compensation scheme for victims.