Trade unions and Blacklist Support Group say Construction Workers Compensation Scheme proposals fall short
The compensation scheme for blacklisted workers will have to be significantly overhauled to become a viable means of resolving the issue, groups representing the workers have said.
In a letter sent earlier this month and seen by Building, trade union bosses and the Blacklist Support Group argued that the proposals of the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (CWCS) do not go far enough given the “years of frustration that our blacklisted members have endured”.
The letter was sent to John Taylor, the former Acas boss who is acting on behalf of the CWCS, which represents eight major contractors that used the services of the notorious Consulting Association - Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Skanska and Vinci.
When it launched in October, a statement from the CWCS said it was a genuine attempt to resolve the issue and would make it as “simple as possible” for those with legitimate claims to be compensated.
The eight contractors behind it also apologised for their previous involvement with blacklisting firm the Consulting Association “and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker”.
The letter, from GMB national officer Justin Bowden, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, Ucatt national officer Jim Kennedy and Blacklist Support Group secretary Dave Smith, calls for “meaningful negotiation” but says that the CWCS “could offer some basis upon which to meet and negotiate”.
The letter lists eight key points. These include the demand that the scheme leave the unions free to pursue a formal inquiry and for workers to seek an apology, training and jobs; no cap on compensation despite the scheme’s initial suggestion of a £100,000 cap per individual; and no demand that workers withdraw existing claims as a condition of entering the scheme.
The letter also says that a one-year timescale is insufficient, calls for full disclosure from the companies involved, requests the scheme’s input on a new statutory code of conduct and queries why other firms that used the Consulting Association are not part of the CWCS.
A CWCS spokesperson declined to comment.