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Blacklisters respond to MPs' criticism

27 Mar 15 Blacklisting contractors have apologised for 'any ambiguity' but deny subterfuge in the compensation scheme that they have set up.

The eight construction companies that set up The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme are standing full-square behind the initiative despite a roasting from a committee of MPs.

The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) was labelled “callous and manipulative” by the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee for claiming that it had the support of trades unions when it has not. [See previous report here.]

TCWCS said that it has so far paid out compensation to 149 people but has not disclosed how much. Potential awards under the scheme range from £4,000 for those on whom very basic information was held, up to £100,000 where there is proof of significant loss of earnings.

The eight companies that have developed and are funding The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme are Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci.

Responding to the Scottish Affairs Committee report, TCWCS issued the following statement:

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“The eight construction companies that developed, launched and are funding The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) welcome the report’s recognition that they are the only companies in the industry that have taken any steps to apologise for their historic involvement with The Consulting Association (TCA) and to establish a route for affected workers to access compensation. While many other construction companies were also users of TCA, we regretted the impact it may have had and wanted to do the right thing for those impacted. 

“The scheme, which opened in July 2014, offers straightforward and easy access to compensation for anyone who has been affected by the existence of TCA records.  It is a faster and less stressful process than a court case and since launch has received hundreds of eligible applications. Awards start at £4,000 for those on whom very basic information was held, rising to £100,000 where there is proof of significant loss of earnings.  The lowest level of compensation through the scheme is intended to reflect a basic award for breach of data protection where there is no evidence of financial loss.  In addition, we are paying for legal advice for anyone applying to the scheme to ensure they make the right decision for their circumstances; and refresher training, to update skills, experience and certification, is available to anyone entering the scheme to ensure this is not an impediment to future employment.

“ We were disappointed that that the launch of TCWCS was not supported by the unions; we note that the final report references our engagement with the unions prior to the launch and recognises key changes were made to the scheme as a result of these conversations. We strongly refute any suggestion that we had attempted to mislead any of our audiences or conceal the outcome of our discussions with the unions. That said, we wrote to MPs in July 2014 apologising for any ambiguity our original letter may have created.

“We remain fully committed to the scheme which, as of Friday 20 March 2015, had received more than 480 enquiries, 233 eligible applications and had compensated 149 people.  We continue to look for ways in which we can reach those whose names were held on TCA records and we welcome the Committee’s encouragement for the unions to facilitate, rather than obstruct, that process.

“Each of the eight companies involved in TCWCS is determined to ensure this issue stays in the past and would comply fully with any code of conduct – either statutory or voluntary – that may be introduced to this end.”

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