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Blacklisting compensation talks may collapse over 'grossly inadequate' offer

TALKS to agree compensation for blacklisted construction workers are close to collapse.

General union GMB says the settlement proposed by eight firms at the heart of the scandal is “grossly inadequate” considering the blight on the lives of those victimised by the practice.

Organised blacklisting was exposed in 2009 following a raid by government officials on the offices of the Consulting Association which uncovered that it had given firms information on 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists.

In October 2013, eight blacklisting companies — Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci PLC — set up the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme to compensate blacklist victims. Negotiations with construction unions began.

The companies plan to provide £15 million to £20m says GMB.

A share-out between all victims would mean compensation of £16,000 to £20,000 for what for some was a working lifetime of struggle to find jobs and feed families.

The eight companies have a collective turnover of more than £34 billion and pre-tax profits of £1.04bn, says GMB.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: “The GMB central executive council has been updated on progress in the talks which are now on the brink of breaking down.

“GMB consider that the main stumbling block is the amount of compensation being offered to the victims of blacklisting in whatever form that took.

“The total current cash envelope for fast-track compensation we estimate is between £15m and £20m. That is less than £3m per company.

“This is grossly inadequate to deal with the devastating damage inflicted on people in their working lives and the colossal invasion of their privacy.

“This compensation offer is not an act of contrition, it is a PR stunt. My advice is that the companies should get serious and make proper restitution and close the book on this shameful chapter. 

“The talks should not break down over the size of the cash envelope. The employers have to own up, clean up and pay up.”

Worst-hit centres in the blacklisting scandal were the City of London with 454 victims, Manchester (183), Merseyside (173) and Glasgow (140).

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