Blacklisting and Settlement Agreements

Since March 2010, the Blacklisting Regulations, have made it unlawful for employers, employment agencies and others to compile, supply or use a blacklist of trade union members or activists for discriminatory purposes most frequently employment vetting.

After years of rumours of industry wide blacklists, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) seized a database containing the names of over 3,000 construction workers held and used by the Consulting Association (TCA).

This highly publicised action exposed the use of a secret blacklist of thousands of construction workers including active union members. Their use was in fact not just rumoured but real and prevalent. As a result, the Blacklisting Regulations were introduced.

Despite on-going civil litigation against those involved in using the blacklist, the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) was launched on 4 July 2014. The scheme is for impacted workers and will remain open for claims for just under two years, until 30 June 2016. The scheme has been set up by eight of the UK's major building contractors including industry giants Balfour Beatty, Laing and Sir Robert McAlpine.

The purpose of the fast track scheme is to enable the impacted workers to obtain compensation swiftly and without extensive legal expense. The scheme provides option for low level infringements and provides a fixed level of compensation starting at £4,000 rising to £20,000. Affected workers do not need to provide proof of loss but they will be barred from making any further claims, in the same way as if they were signing a settlement agreement relinquishing all their rights to bring any further claims for a breach of an employment contract or associated rights. A full review is available for those who were severely impacted but compensation is capped at £100,000.

Trade Unions, and the GMB in particular have slammed the scheme as a “PR stunt” and the "cut-price compensation offer is not an act of genuine contrition”. Indeed, Unite and UCATT are advising any members to shun the scheme.

The employers involved hope that the scheme will avoid years of multiple claims for employees who allege that they were effected.

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