Court battle in blacklist storm.
BRITAIN'S biggest union Unite plans a major legal offensive in the High Court on behalf of blacklisted workers - with dozens in the Birmingham area awaiting the outcome.
The news comes as the Information Commissioner's office (ICO) confirmed that over the next few days a further 1,200 people will get a letter telling them they are on the blacklist. The move by the ICO paves the way for more legal challenges against the blacklisters.
The union announced that it had issued a first tranche of five High Court proceedings against blacklisters with 45 more cases to follow. The construction companies involved include Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty, Crown House Technologies, Skanska, Kier and Laing O'Rourke.
More than 60 per cent of workers on the blacklist were aged between 30 and 50 in the mid-90s, and were mainly active union leaders on construction sites, including 69 from the Birmingham area.
Over four years have passed since 44 construction companies were exposed as blacklisters following a raid on the Consulting Association by the Information Commissioner. Protests were this week held across the country, while unions lobby the Westminster and Scottish parliaments. The unions are calling on the construction industry to Own Up, Pay up, Clean Up.
Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail said: "Unite has launched a major legal offensive in the High Court on behalf of blacklisted workers. The union is preparing to issue a total of 50 cases in the High Court against construction employers including Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty, Crown House Technologies, Skanska, Kier and Laing O'Rourke.
"But this is just the tip of the iceberg now that a further 1,200 people will receive the shocking revelation that they are on the blacklist. A lot more legal cases will follow and we urge Unite members to contact us if they find out they are on the list.
"Unite has already supported numerous blacklisting cases in the courts and at employment tribunals and the union has already succeeded on behalf of many members. Workers need stronger legislation against blacklisting to give the law real teeth."