Blacklisting is human rights abuse on an industrial scale. The secret conspiracy that ruined the lives of thousands of hard working men and women was orchestrated by the directors of multinational construction firms. Seven years ago they denied everything and refused to pay a penny. The recent press reports that companies have now paid out around £20 million to settle a small number of High Court claims demonstrates the success of the campaign to expose the blacklist.
But justice for blacklisted workers will not be served if the employers are able to buy themselves out of a High Court trial altogether. Those that actively participated in the systematic victimisation of union members over decades need to be held to account. The full force of the law must be brought to bear upon these captains of industry and the companies that profited from their illegal actions.
Blacklisted workers richly deserve compensation but many of us are concerned that the British legal system may allow big business to escape any kind of legal sanction. We have been fighting this scandal for many years: a few thousand pounds cobbled together by lawyers behind closed doors is not good enough. No blacklisted worker should be forced to accept compensation if they want to proceed to the full trial. Justice demands that the guilty parties are exposed to the spotlight of legal scrutiny at the High Court trial in May. Justice demands that the voices of those that suffered be heard. Blacklisted workers will not be silenced.
Even if every blacklisted worker receives compensation, if the companies escape any legal judgement, the blacklisting scandal will remain unfinished business. And we will never give up our struggle.