Action to be taken against more than 40 firms who paid to access illegal blacklist of workers’ details

Lawyers are preparing to launch a High Court action on behalf of over 100 workers affected by the illegal blacklisting of construction workers.

Law firm Guney Clark & Ryan confirmed it intends to launch the action against more than 40 construction firms in the next two months. It would be the first High Court case over the blacklisting uncovered by watchdog the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in 2009.

It is thought that Guney Clark & Ryan will claim damages on the grounds of infringements of the Data Protection Act.

Major firms including Balfour Beatty, Sir Robert McAlpine and Laing O’Rourke were found to have paid for access to blacklists three years ago. However, Building does not have any evidence that these firms will be targeted by the writ.

A raid on the offices of a firm known as the Consulting Association in Droitwich in 2009 revealed more than 40 firms were paying an annual fee to access information on 3,213 workers’ union history, personal relationships and employment history.

But until now only a handful of individual employment tribunals have been brought by the workers affected.

A spokesperson for Guney Clark & Ryan said: “We are representing a number of individuals on the Consulting Association’s database in relation to a possible action.”

It is thought that previous attempts to bring the action stalled over difficulties in insuring the workers against the legal costs of losing the case but that these may now be resolved.

The class action is being brought on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group, which was set up in response to the 2009 ICO revelations.