Labour Research January 2018

Law Matters

Unite union takes blacklisters to court

The Unite general union continues apace with its campaign against blacklisting, having recently issued a High Court case for unlawful conspiracy, lobbied Parliament and staged a day of action. 

The High Court case relates to legal proceedings brought by the union on behalf of construction worker members who found themselves blacklisted by The Consulting Association (TCA) as a result of their trade union activities. 

TCA were found to hold blacklisting records on over 3,000 construction workers. 

Unite has in the past successfully pursued High Court proceedings against companies who used the services of TCA, gaining millions of pounds in compensation for large numbers of blacklisted workers. The latest High Court case is being brought against four individuals who had been chairmen of TCA.

Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary for legal affairs, explained Unite’s determination to ensure that “the people directly responsible for blacklisting workers and ruining their lives are brought to justice”, and that the “controlling minds” behind the “systematic blacklisting of workers” had thus far sought to evade responsibility for their actions. 

Unite has issued these proceedings to ensure these individuals are held to account.

As well as pursuing legal proceedings, Unite is calling for a full public inquiry into blacklisting, for blacklisting to become a criminal offence and for companies caught blacklisting to be barred from bidding for public sector contracts.