Construction union Ucatt has described the proposed compensation scheme for victims of blacklisting as “a blatant attempt to gag blacklisted workers”.
Ucatt’s criticisms come after it was allowed to see the key features and principles of the scheme, announced last month, which has been proposed by eight of the construction companies most involved in the blacklisting of construction workers.
Aspects of the scheme that are causing particular concern to Ucatt include:
- the scheme will not represent an admission of liability by the companies involved in blacklisting.
- A condition of taking part in the scheme would be for a blacklisted worker to drop all other legal claims.
- Compensation payments would begin at just a £1,000.
- The scheme would be open for just a year.
- A twin-track approach is proposed, with a so-called fast-track method being offered for workers to receive fixed amounts depending on the information on their blacklisting file. A full review which would take longer would examine the losses suffered by a worker.
- There is no intention to hold hearings into the claims of blacklisted workers and the majority of cases would be resolved on paper, behind closed doors.
- Only blacklisted workers where their addresses have been identified would be informed of the scheme.
- While all decisions would be made independently by a High Court Judge, there will be no input from the unions or the workers who were blacklisted themselves.
Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said: “The scheme is a complete travesty of justice. The companies involved in blacklisting and wrecking the lives of workers for decades are not even prepared to accept liability for their disgusting actions. They are trying to buy the silence of workers for as little as £1,000.”
Ucatt has not been involved in any discussions regarding how the scheme will be set up or operate.
Mr Murphy added: “The blacklisting companies are trying to sweep their crimes under the carpet and to gag the victims of blacklisting. The minimum that the blacklisted victims deserve is full compensation and a full public inquiry to fully reveal once and for all, who was responsible for blacklisting them and why.”