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Thursday 14th
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

Victim mowed down during protest wins compensation

A BRAVE trade union activist unable to work after being mown down by a driver while demonstrating against blacklisting has been awarded £80,000 compensation.

Blacklisted construction site electrician George Tapp was hit while handing out leaflets targeting one of the blacklisting culprits, BAM, on May 15 2013.

A car ploughed through the demonstrators, throwing Mr Tapp (pictured in hospital) onto the bonnet.

The respected labour movement activist suffered head injuries as he was hurled onto the pavement.

His feet were caught under the front of the car, forcing his legs to buckle forwards and both legs were broken at the knee.

Mr Tapp, now 67, was in hospital for eight weeks and underwent reconstructive surgery on his knees. He hasn’t been able to work since.

Police charged the car driver, 19-year-old Michael Collins, with dangerous driving.

However a jury at Manchester Crown Court found him not guilty — despite having seen a video recording of the car running down Mr Tapp and another demonstrator, who suffered minor injuries.

Trade unions in Greater Manchester rallied to support Mr Tapp and his family while he was in hospital, setting up an appeal fund.

Three years later Mr Tapp still suffers from his injuries, but continues his campaigning work against blacklisting in the construction industry.

Mr Tapp is a member of union Unite, whose legal team successfully pursued a civil action on Mr Tapp’s behalf with insurers for compensation for his shocking injuries.

Speaking to the Star, Mr Tapp said: “I want to thank my union, Unite, which provided a solicitor, barrister and health experts to assess my injuries.

“Without the union, this would not have happened. I could not have done it on my own. All workers should be in a union.”

He warned that blacklisting in the construction industry continued.

“There has to be redress against these companies, not just compensation for the workers,” he said. “They should be jailed. The whole lot of them are still ignoring the law. 

“Blacklisting is still going on. Members of my Unite branch, Manchester construction, are still blacklisted.”

His wife Anne added: “The support we’ve had has been wonderful. Everyone has been so good.”

Unite legal director Howard Beckett called the incident “horrific” and said the union was “proud” to support Mr Tapp in his fight for justice.

He said: “For this incident to have happened at a protest against the blacklisting of trade unionists only adds to the feelings of anger that trade unionists feel as to the disgraceful practices undertaken by construction companies such as McAlpine and Balfour Beatty.

“Trade unionists, and health and safety activists in particular, have seen themselves blacklisted from employment for nothing more than standing up for the rights of their fellow workers. 

“The protest George was attending is only the start of the fight for justice, as construction companies make contrite apologies for destroying the lives of trade unionists they need to understand that the fight Unite is taking will continue until there is a public inquiry and the real truth of this activity is known. 

“In the interim, congratulations to George and get back into action!”