Construction workers have filed a claim in the High Court for loss of earnings and damages against a building company, alleging that the company was involved in an unlawful conspiracy to amass a database of information against them, which was used to prevent them earning a living in their trade.
The claim involves 86 of 3,400 workers in the files of the Consulting Association, an organisation paid by companies the industry to collect information on workers regarded as troublesome. Their files include information about trade union membership, relationships, friendships and political views, along with surveillance intelligence.
The group claims that the building firm had the worst record of blacklisting, which is why it is being targeted, and the claim could potentially amount to £600m, as legally the company would be responsible for more than 40 other contractors under the conspiracy charge.
An ex-scaffolder said: “This nearly ruined my marriage. My file goes back to 1964 and the last entry says that I rekindled the campaign for justice for the Shrewsbury picketers in 2006. They have been watching me all these years and passing this information around, blighting my life over four decades.”
Meanwhile an electrician and spokesperson for the Blacklist Support Group said: “I was blacklisted because I was a union member and because I raised issues about safety. Over the years I suffered severe financial strain. The blacklisting firms should be made to pay compensation for years lost and years in future.”
Labour MP John McDonnell has criticised Prime Minister David Cameron for refusing to hold a public inquiry and accused him of protecting employers.
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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