High Court trial – employers surrender!
Blacklisting was in the High Court on Thursday and after 6 years of denying everything, that the High Court trial is getting close, the blacklisting wretches have revised their legal defence, finally admitting their guilt. The 8 largest firms have run up the white flag and the ongoing negotiations between the lawyers are now just drawing up the terms of the surrender. The lawyers representing the blacklisting contractors are still huffing and puffing about their desire to go to court to fight the issue of ‘quantum’ and ‘causation’ (ie: how much compensation they need to pay) but this is just for show. The blacklisters will do anything to avoid the spectacle of a High Court conspiracy trial, which is still set to start in May 2016 and last for 10 weeks. BSG position is that we still want to see the directors of these multinational firms being forced to give evidence under oath at the High Court about their active involvement in this human rights scandal. Buying us off with a few thousand pounds is not justice.
The Blacklist Support Group would like to go on record to thank the stirling work carried out by all of the lawyers on our behalf. We could not have done this on our own. But we would like to particularity praise the work carried out by JC Townsend, Liam Dunne, Sean Curren and the rest of the legal team at Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors who have been working on the High Court conspiracy claim completely unpaid since 2009. Without their initial support, hard work and the resources allocated by GCR over the past six and a half years, we would not be in this position today. Blacklisted workers salute you.
Below is the statement issued & written by PR spin-doctors Graylings on behalf of the 8 largest firms.
On 7 October 2015 we, the eight companies that comprise the Macfarlanes Defendants*, submitted a Re-Amended Generic Defence to the Court. In this document we lay out clearly a number of admissions; these admissions are also covered in the accompanying summary which, we hope, will provide interested parties with an easily accessible reference. Both documents contain a full and unreserved apology for our part in a vetting information system run in the construction industry first through the Economic League and subsequently through The Consulting Association; we recognise and regret the impact it had on employment opportunities for those workers affected and for any distress and anxiety it caused to them and their families.
We are making these admissions now as we believe it is the right thing to do; we are keen to be as transparent as possible and to do what we can to simplify the High Court hearing scheduled for mid-2016. We hope that the clarity this brings will be welcomed by the affected workers. Indeed, ever since the closure of The Consulting Association in 2009, we have been focused on trying to do the right thing by affected workers. This was why we set up The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) in 2014 to provide those who felt they had been impacted by the existence of the vetting system with a fast and simple way of accessing compensation. Currently, we have paid compensation to 308 people who have contacted TCWCS and we are processing 39 ongoing eligible claims.
We remain committed to TCWCS. We are approaching the High Court hearing in the spirit of openness and full transparency and continue to defend the claim strongly in relation to issues of causation and loss.
* Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC
TV and newspaper coverage:
Pitchford Inquiry – police involvement in blacklisting to be investigated
If the blacklisting companies think that they can buy their way out of public scrutiny, they are very wrong. Teresa May has set up a public inquiry into undercover policing being headed by Lord Justice Pitchford. The first preliminary session took place on Wednesday in the Royal Courts of Justice. Blacklisted workers represented by the Blacklist Support Group have been granted core participant status. So the Pitchford inquiry will now investigate the role of the police in the blacklisting scandal. UCATT, FBU & NUM have also been granted CP status. The next 3 years will be very interesting.
Ongoing fights against blacklisting
Blacklisting is not a historic thing of the past – it is still ongoing.
Victimsed PCS rep, Candy Udwin reinstated at the National Gallery after more than 100 days on official strike. BSG would like to send a message of support to all the PCS strikers and especially to Candy. Your determined struggle and solidarity are an inspiration to us all.
New Royal Hospital project being built by blacklisting firm Carillion.
Sat 10th October
9.00am-10.30am Demo outside New Royal Hospital, Crown Street Entrance
11am-1pm – Organising meeting at Unite the Union Office
The ongoing dispute over contractors refusal to pay the nationally agreed rates of pay and blacklisting of union members at Wilton In Teesside is now in its 7th month. The Teesside activists recently took their fight against SITA to Liverpool. #PayTheRate
Andy Burnham pledges to fight for Shrewsbury Pickets
Blacklisted book was in Leeds this week – massive thank you to Kath Owen and jane Holgate for organising the meetings. The blacklisting campaign can only operate if local grassroots activists support us. http://newint.org/books/politics/blacklisted-secret-war/
Blacklisting & the Arts
Film maker Lucy Parker has been working with the Blacklist Support Group for a number of years. she will be doing a presentation in Edinburgh. BSG encourage anyone who has been blacklisted and especially wives and artners of blacklisted workers to participate in this project.
Mark Thomas in New York
Comedian / activist Mark Thomas appears on the construction industry blacklist, was spied on by BAE systems and also appears on the Metropolitan Police domestic extremism database. He is one of 6 journalists being represented by the NUJ currently suing the Met Police. Mark is taking his award winning show Cuckooed (about his experience of corporate spying) to New York throughout November. The show won awards at the Edinburgh Festival and the Amnesty International. The link is for tickets. If any trade unions or journalists in New York wish to get in touch with Mark during his NY run, please contact BSG at [email protected] to arrange.
United We Stand – Ragged Trousered Philanthropist
Townsend Productions 2 political plays about the building industry are in Peckham throughout October & November with special press nights and speakers throughout the run.
Blacklist Support Group