Campaigners furious at offer of £4,000 - £20,000 fast-track for affected workers
Construction workers whose names were held on a blacklist have been offered between £4,000-£20,000 compensation, under a fast-tracked process launched today by a group of major contractors.
The compensation scheme, launched in advance of high court hearings over the blacklisting, also offers a maximum of £100,000 compensation for workers who have proof that they were denied employment through use of the blacklist and want a detailed review of their case.
The offer, which comes after eight months of negotiations between contractors and unions, has immediately been branded a “piss-take” by the leader of the campaign defending the blacklisted workers, Dave Smith.
A statement issued by the eight contractors behind the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme, said it would offer two options to blacklisted workers: a fast-track process and a full review.
Under the fast-track system, workers whose names were held on the blacklisting database run by the Consulting Association would be offered just £4,000 in compensation, but they would not have to give evidence in person or bear any legal costs. If there was evidence their records had been accessed, this would rise to a maximum of £20,000. The claim would be dealt with in as little as two weeks.
However, for those “who would prefer a more detailed investigation into their particular circumstances,” a full review process would have a maximum compensation of £100,000. This full review would be run by retired High Court judge Sir Colin McKay and the statement said it would be completed within three to six months.
The scheme is also offering to cover the legal costs accrued to date of blacklisted workers involved in a number of high-court cases against the contractors, on the basis they withdraw their court claims and join the compensation scheme.
Dave Smith, secretary of the Blacklist support Group, said: “This is a piss take masquerading as a publicity stunt. Four grand for ruining families with decades of human rights abuse. The PR stunt is designed to keep them out of court and hide their dirty secrets, makes no admission of guilt or apology and does nothing to offer blacklisted workers jobs to provide for their families.”
The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) has been developed and funded by contractors Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci PLC.
Any construction worker, or the family of a deceased construction worker, who believes they may have been affected is eligible to apply. The blacklisting database was held by the Consulting Association between 1993 and 2009. It was closed in 2009 following a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Full details of the terms of the scheme can be found at www.tcwcs.co.uk, and advice is available on the TCWCS free-phone helpline on 0800 980 8337.