Class action to be brought against over 40 firms including Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Kier

Construction companies could be facing a bill of millions of pounds after a leading law firm revealed it was preparing a class action suit on behalf of blacklisted workers.

Action will be brought against over 40 firms, including Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke, Kier and Costain, who were found to be using the illegal blacklist that was uncovered by the Information Commissioner’s Office in March.

A legal team at Guney Clark & Ryan said in the summer that they hoped to issue a class action, but had been unable to proceed due to a lack of claimants.

However, the formation of the Blacklist Support Group in July, partly led by Labour MP John McDonnell, prompted workers to contact the law firm.

Guney Clark & Ryan said it had now received files from around 40 workers and expected to be representing 100 by Christmas.

We will begin proceedings in the new year, and we are confident of success

Sean Curran, Guney Clark & Ryan

The case is being brought under the Data Protection Act. Sean Curran, a partner at Guney Clark & Ryan, said it was difficult to quantify how much each worker could hope to win, but it is understood that, should the lawsuit succeed, individuals can expect a sum between £10,000 and £100,000. Some workers could receive up to £400,000.

Curran said: “We are doing this for the workers. We will begin proceedings in the new year, and we are confident of success.”

James Lafferty, a worker who claims he was on the blacklist for 15 years, said he welcomed the suit. “The day of accountability is coming,” he said.

The UK Contractors Group declined to comment.

Guney Clark & Ryan will issue pre-action letters in January and companies will then have about 28 days to respond.