Socialist Worker

Blacklisted workers walkout of bosses' compensation scheme charade

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2378

The Blacklist Support Group delegation Steve Kelly, Dave Smith and Roy Bentham

The Blacklist Support Group delegation Steve Kelly, Dave Smith and Roy Bentham


Blacklisted workers have walked out of the first round of talks over construction bosses’ proposed blacklist compensation scheme.

The Blacklist Support Group walked out of the meeting in disgust at what they described as “piss take” proposals. 

Building bosses got some high profile media coverage when they announced the scheme last month.

Blacklisted workers, Dave Smith, Steve Kelly and Roy Bentham (pictured) made up the Blacklist Support Group delegation. 

They met with scheme representatives including John Taylor, the ex-chief executive of conciliation service Acas, and Richard Slaven, a partner at Pinsent Mason solicitors.

Roy Bentham is a blacklisted joiner from Liverpool and a Ucatt union member. He said, “These are not proposals designed for genuine negotiations. It is a piss-take masquerading as a publicity stunt.

“We were not prepared to continue with the charade.”

Building bosses proposals for compensation are weak in the extreme.

They include:

  • No admission of liability by the companies involved in blacklisting.
  • Blacklisted workers taking part in the scheme would have to drop all other legal claims.
  • Compensation payments could be as low as a £1,000.
  • The scheme would only be open for a year.
  • Proposes fixed amounts depending on the information on the blacklisting file.
  • The majority of cases would be resolved on paper, behind closed doors.
  • Only workers already indentified as blacklisted whose addresses have been identified would be informed of the scheme.
  • While all decisions would be made by a High Court Judge there will be no input from unions or blacklisted workers.

In a statement the workers said, “If the firms have really turned over a new leaf, they can prove it by offering jobs to blacklisted workers on Crossrail and other major construction projects.

“Blacklisting breached our human rights, forced us into years of unemployment and made our families suffer financially.

“Why is a celebrity whose phone has been hacked worth so much more than the human rights of a building worker? 

“If there was any justice in the world, the directors implicated should be on their knees begging our forgiveness. We will settle for offers of employment, full compensation and a public inquiry into this squalid conspiracy.

“These blacklisting wretches have the brass neck to offer us a thousand pounds in compensation. They can shove their grand, right up their profit margin”.


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News
Wed 6 Nov 2013, 15:02 GMT
Issue No. 2378
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