Construction Industry Blacklist News
Welcome to the page on GCR's website that is dedicated to news relating to the Construction Industry Blacklist.
3 December 2015
Requests for Further Information (RFIs)
The Defendants have made Requests for Further Information (RFIs). These were two-fold: for further information in relation to the case generally and individual RFIs relating to all of the Lead and Reserve Lead Claimants. The CSSG agreed that we would provide answers to some of the general RFIs and some of the Claimant-specific RFIs. We made it clear, however, that we did not intend to answer all of the requests, as it was felt that some of them were inappropriate and in some cases sought for us to provide information to which the Defendants were not entitled or which the Court had already ordered should be provided to them at a later date.
The Defendants have now been provided with all of the replies that we were willing to provide. After considering these, they have decided to make an Application, to be dealt with at the CMC on 7 and 8 December, wherein they will ask the Court to make an Order, compelling us to provide them with the information they have requested. We intend to contest any such Order, on the basis that any outstanding responses are not appropriate at this time.
All Lead and Reserve Lead Claimants are required to provide Disclosure to the Defendants regarding their overall income position. This requires the provision of any relevant accountants’ and medical records. This process is quite lengthy, given the time-period and amount of data involved. The Defendants have been provided with any and all Disclosure relating to individual Claimants. They have also recently made an Application in respect of the particular Disclosure of the Lead Claimants, wherein they request further information on the Disclosure provided and to come. This is another Application which we intend to contest, on the basis that the Defendants have been provided with all the Disclosure received to date and will continue to be provided with any additional such.
The Defendants must provide their Disclosure to the Claimant Group by the end of October this year. The ‘Macfarlane Defendants’, who make up the vast majority of them, have provided Disclosure on a rolling basis. The Defendants then sought, and we agreed, to a two-week extension. Disappointingly, despite reassurances from them as to the volume of the Disclosure, when the final batch was received it was considerably larger than had been indicated. Indeed, it is estimated that they have provided in excess of 80,000 documents.
The task of reviewing the Disclosure is being led by Leigh Day/GMB. It was originally anticipated that we would have reviewed all of the Defendants’ Disclosure before 27 November, so as to enable us to determine whether or not we needed to make an Application for Specific Disclosure to the CMC on 7 and 8 December. Due to the sheer scale of the Defendants’ Disclosure, however, that has simply not been possible. Instead, we have put the Defendants on notice that we are continuing the review. We will, in due course , write to them with a request for any outstanding Disclosure that we believe may still be due and put them on notice that, should they be unwilling to provide same, we will make a separate Application for Specific Disclosure to be dealt with at a further hearing, sometime in January 2016.
The CSSG has made an Application to be dealt with at the CMC, to rely upon the expert evidence in the form of a report on historical incomes, once complete.
On 18 and 19 November, there was a two-day Case Costs Management (CCM) hearing. For this, all parties had to send to the Court confirmation of the costs incurred to date, along with an indication of likely future costs. The Court now has the power to rule on future costs that may be incurred and has reserved judgment in relation to future costs.
9 October 2015
The ‘Macfarlanes Defendants’, which include Sir Robert McAlpine Ltd, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Skanska, Kier, Vinci and Laing O’Rourke have provided a draft of the revised Defence which they intend to file later this month. Therein, for the first time, they make a number of admissions of liability in relation to the activities of the Consulting Association (CA).
They accept that the CA ‘infringed workers’ rights to confidentiality, privacy, reputation and latterly data protection’. They also offer an ‘unreserved apology’ for their part in operating the system, for any adverse employment consequences and for the distress and anxiety caused to workers and their families.
They do not, however, make any admissions in relation to the main action we have brought against them, namely that they were engaged in an ‘unlawful conspiracy’. They have also made partial admissions in relation to the activities of the Economic League, the precursor organization to the CA.
Despite the admissions made, they have indicated that they will continue to defend claims where they believe there is no established link between the CA's actions and the alleged loss or lack of employment and the amounts which are being claimed.
Below are links to some media coverage of this development :
7 October 2015
The CMC scheduled for tomorrow (8 October) will be proceeding, but it has been reduced from 1 day to approximately 1 hour, with minimal representation from all parties, for the purpose of updating the Court.
1 October 2015
On 2 October there will be a Costs Case Management (CCM) hearing, which is a procedural hearing before a Costs Judge who will give directions in relation to the issue of costs, in particular the filing of relevant information by both parties, prior to a two-day Cost Case Management hearing in November in front of the Costs Judge, the Management Judge and the Trial Judge. The Court will then consider the proportionality of the costs of all of the parties and approve same.
There will be a further Case Management Conference (CMC) on 8 October. In preparation for that the Claimant Group have made a number of, mostly procedural, Applications to the Court. The first relates to some further minor amendments to the generic Particulars of Claims and Claimant Specific Particulars of Claims.
Another Application is in relation to the costs of the Disclosure Application, which took place at the last CMC. An Application was made in advance of this hearing, just to protect the costs position of the Claimant Group.
Group Litigation Register (GLR)
This was to close at the beginning of November. As this matter will not be going to trial until May 2016, however, an agreement has been reached with the Defendants to extend the time the Register remains open and it will not now close until February 2016.
There is a possibility that this CMC may be adjourned, due to the fact that the case is progressing as the Court has envisaged and any outstanding Applications can be dealt with by the Court in December.
The expert investigating past losses continues with her work and it is envisaged that her report will be available by December. The expert who is providing a breakdown of actual earnings for Lead Claimants is anticipated to have his report available by January 2016.
14-16th July 2015
Case Management Conference in the High Court
What many may describe a "marathon" case management conference took place over these three days and in fact went into some extra time on Monday 20th July. The Court grappled with three main issues:
1. Expert Evidence
The Court heard lenghty and detailed submissions on behalf of the Cliamant Group including GCR as to why it felt it necesssary to now instruct an expert to assist in the calculation of losses suffered. The Court heard in great detail as to how the experts proposed could assist. The Defendants strongly opposed the use of experts arguing that their role could be carried by the Court and raised concerns as to the time it would take to do an expert report and the costs involved. After a long two days the Court took the view that it would not grant permission at this time for experts and that it will revist this matter in December.
The Court heard very strong submissions from the Claimant Group as to the inadequacies of the disclosure the Defendant Companies were proposing to produce. The Defendants sought to justify their position by suggesting is was not proportionate to produce the disclosure we sought. The Court was however fully in our favour and has ordered the Defendants to produce the disclosure requested
3. Trial Timetable
The Court has now put in place a detailed time table setting out the various steps that need to be taken and the further information that needs to be produced all the way up to the trial in May 2016.
May - June 2015
The GCR team continues to work hard on progressing the "Blacklist" case. Progress has been made in the selection of Lead Claimants and it is hoped that the identity of the 20 Lead Cases will be agreed between the Claimant Group and the Defendants and that the Court will not need to decide on this at the July CMC. GCR and the other Claimants Groups had made an application for permission to instruct an expert to assist with calculating the losses suffered by Claimants. This application is opposed by the Defendants and will be dealt with at the CMC in July. GCR and the Claimant Group are also making an application in relation to the Disclosure provided by the Defendants to date and the further disclosure they are proposing to provide which will require the Defendants to provide much more than what is currently been provided. This will also be dealt with at the CMC in July.
Finally , GCR would like to welcome two new members to the GCR Blacklist Team, Kelsey Sinclair and Fil Yenice have joined us as paralegals in June to assist.
14th May 2015
Case Management Hearing in High Court
A further CMC took place on the 14th May and significant progress was made on a number of issues:
1. Trial Date
The Court has confirmed that the Trial will begin in May 2016 and will last fo 10-11 weeks.
2. Lead Cases
The Court has ordered that there should be 20 Lead Cases. A pool of 50 potential Lead Cases has already been identified and the 20 Lead Cases will be selected from that.
The Defendants were ordered by the Court to file what are known as Electronic Disclosures Questionnaires which is disclosure of electronically stored information but which can include information which is contained within email, other electronic communications, word processed documents, databases, documents accessible from computer systems, documents served in servers or backups and cna include electronic documents that have been deleted.
The Court also confirmed that further CMC would take place on 14th July for two days to deal with the issue of Selection of Lead Cases, Experts and the Trial Timetable.
April and May 2015
Preparations for the CMC on 14th May 2015
The GCR team has been busy throughout April and May with preparations for the next CMC on 14th May. An number of issues are being dealt with including selection of Lead Cases, consideration of the trial period and disclosure
31st March 2015
Second Tranche of Schedules of Losses Filed
GCR today filed the second tranche of schedules of losses to compliment those filed at the end of January. As such all of GCR's original cliamants have now filed schedules of loss which it is hoped will now lead to some real progress in this matter.
6th March 2015
55 New Claimants Added to GCR's Claim
GCR today added a further 55 individuals to the High Court Claim bringing the total numbe of cliams being brought by GCR to 129.
13th February 2015
Case Management Hearing in High Court
A further CMC took place today. The hearing today was heard by Mr Justice Supperstone who has been appointed as the trial judge for the blacklisting case along with Master Leslie who has been the managing judge. Mr Justice Supperstone made it clear that he was looking for the case to proceed to trial by Easter 2016 or summer 2016 at the latest.
The court once again heard various legal arguments and made directions relating to the existing claims, claims issued in the next few weeks and any cliams issued after that. Some initals dicussions also took place in relation to the selection of "lead/test" cases. These discussions will be ongoing between the parties and there is another CMC on 14th May 2015 at which if there are outstanding issues the court will deal with the same. The Court will also at the CMC in May start to look at making directions to ensure that a trial can proceed next year.
30th January 2015
203 Schedules of loss filed and First tranche of disclosure
After a very busy month GCR and the other Claimants groups provided the Defendant Companies with schedules setting out details of losses suffered by individuals who were "blacklisted". It is hoped that this information may lead in new future to real progress in the matter and to potentially offers being made to settle some of cases involved
Some of the companies involved also provided disclosure and GCR is currently considering the same
17th December 2014
GCR in High Court for next stage of Construction Industry Blacklist Case
GCR were in the High court today for the next hearing relating to the ongoing construction industry blacklist case. The hearing today was once again a case management hearing (CMC) at which a number if issues and applications were dealt with in order to progress matters.
After a long day of legal arguments the Court made further directions to progress the case including directions for GCR and the other claimants groups between them to file by end of January 2015, 200 schedules that will set out the loss of earnings suffered by individuals and for the Companies to provide the first part of disclosure to GCR and the other claimant groups.
A further CMC was fixed for the 13th February 2015
16th October 2014
Further Directions given by the Court in Construction Industry Blacklist Case
The Court today heard various arguments in relation to the ongoing Construction Industry Blacklist case. The Court gave guidance as to how the case is to progress and in particular made it clear that there were to be no further delays and that everyone involved should be ensuring that the case moves forward. A further case management hearing was fixed from 17th December 2014
16th October 2014
GCR in High Court for next stage of Construction Industry Blacklist Case
GCR are in the High court today for the next hearing relating to the ongoing construction industry blacklist case. The hearing today is case management hearing (CMC) at which a number if issues and applications will be dealt with in order to progress matters.
GCR have continued to instruct the renowned Hugh Tomlinson QC to represent it claimants at court today.
The CMC relates to the 79 claims that were initially brought by GCR in 2012 that have now been consolidated by subsequent claims brought by the trade unions in 2013 and 2014, by way of Group Litigation Order. There are now in excess of 400 claims. Sean Curran of GCR:
" GCR is looking forward to today's hearing, having been at the forefront of the campaign seeking compenstion for those workers affected by "blacklisting". The hearing today will afford an opportunity for the court to hear for itself, the ways in which the construction industry has tried to delay proceeding by making numerous applications that seek only increase costs and undermine blacklisted workers pursuit of justice at a full hearing."
16th July 2014
The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme appear in front of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee
Five individuals involved in the formation of TCWCS appeared before the Scottish Affairs Select Committee in Parliament on 16 July 2014. The Scottish Affairs Select Committee investigation into blacklisting heard evidence from Nick Pollard, chief executive of Balfour Beatty, Andrew Ridley-Barker, managing director of Vinci Construction and Callum Tuckett, group finance and commercial director at Laing O'Rourke plus Richard Slaven, partner at Pinsent Mason LLP and Richard Duke from the PR company Grayling.
The committee showed considerable disappointment with the Companies for a letter sent by Richard Dukes of the PR Company Grayling on behalf of the blacklist compensation scheme to all MPs in parliament which had given the impression that unions and representatives of blacklisted workers supported the scheme and queried whether this was a deliberate attempt to mislead parliament.
The MPs suggested a number of changes to the scheme and the companies indicated they would go back and consider the following;
- Extending the schemes duration to 3 years to allow for the High Court trial to conclude before workers needed to make a decision with regard to joining the scheme.
- Making provision within the scheme to provide "interim damages" which would be increased once the High Court trial finished.
- Seeking an advice from a Barrister in relation to the viability of re-engaging blacklisted workers in direct employment with the companies.
GCR’s Liam Dunne has commented that “The committee seem to have a clear perception of both the deficiencies of the unilateral scheme and the misleading nature of the companies’ press releases”
GCR welcomes the fact that the Select Committee seem to understand the mechanics of the scheme, how the companies are currently operating and how best to bring this matter to a fair and just conclusion in a timely manner
10th July 2014
High Court Action Group Litigation Order
GCR and the union claimant groups in the High Court action had a Group Litigation Order granted at the Royal Courts of Justice on 10 July 2014. The Construction companies had sought the adjournment of this Order until October but the Master has made it clear that this matter would not be delayed any further. GCR welcome the fact that this case is now being actively managed and it appears that the Master will take all reasonable steps necessary to insure that the Trial will proceed in a timely manner.
The order provided for the appointment of Guney Clark and Ryan as Lead Solicitor on a joint basis with the union claimant groups. Further hearing dates were scheduled for October and December of this year and the Master stated that this case will be concluded by April 2016 at the latest.
4 July 2014 - GCR PRESS RELEASE
Blacklisted Companies Launch Unapproved Compensation Scheme
Eight of the UK’s largest construction firms have today announced the launch of a scheme aimed at compensating workers who were victims of past blacklisting in the industry. The scheme has, however, not been approved by either GCR, who have worked on the case since 2009 and launched the first High Court claim in 2012, or by GMB, UNITE and UCATT who launched High Court claims of their own in 2013. This is despite the fact that the Scottish Affairs Select Committee specifically stated that any such scheme must be agreed after negotiations with the relevant trade unions and representatives of blacklisted workers.
GCR and the trade unions have raised major concerns with the proposed format and process of the Compensation Scheme, but these appear to have been completely ignored and the scheme launched unilaterally.
GCR’s Sean Curran has commented that “The amounts being offered under the Compensation Scheme are derisory and are in no way reflective of the very real personal and economic damage that was caused by blacklisting to the individuals we represent. These are firms which, between them, post annual profits of more than one billion pounds.”
The trade unions believe the launch of the scheme at this time is little more than a ‘PR stunt’.
GCR remain fully committed to their ongoing High Court action on behalf of victims of blacklisting and will be in court this coming Thursday 10th July, for a further hearing.
FEB-MARCH 2014 ONGOING TALKS WITH THE CONSTRUCTION WORKERS COMPENSATION SCHEME (TCWCS)
GCR has been engaged along with GMB, UCATT and UNITE in ongoing talks with the TCWCS. A round table meeting took place and at that meeting both sides discussed how they see the compensation scheme operating. Further talks are planned within the next few weeks.
13th January 2014 - GCR, GMB and UCATT Send Response to The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS).
GCR, GMB and UCATT have provided a detailed response to TCWCS in relation to its draft framework for the compensation setting out a number of issues and concerns in relation to that draft framework. GCR , GMB and UCATT have proposed an alternative framework and now await a response from TCWCS.
29th November 2013 - First Ever High Court Hearing in relation to Blacklisting
Today saw the first High Court Hearing in relation to Construction Industry Blacklist. GCR represented 79 individuals who brought a High Court against Sir Robert McAlpine. That claim has now been joined by claims brought by GMB, UNITE and UCATT against a number of other construction companies. At the hearing an order was made that provides strict deadlines for the filing of further information by everyone involved and a further hearing will take place in April 2014.
29th November 2013 - Sean Curran and Liam Dunne of GCR outside the High Court
25th November 2013 - GCR PRESS RELEASE REGARDING 1ST EVER HIGH COURT HEARING REALTING TO CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BLACKLIST
GUNEY, CLARK & RYAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BLACKLIST PRESS RELEASE
On the 29th November 2013, the first ever High Court hearing in relation to “blacklisting” within the construction industry will take place. This hearing relates to the High Court claim brought by Guney, Clark & Ryan on behalf of 79 individuals. Those individuals and Guney, Clark & Ryan have worked tirelessly over the past 4 years in pursuit of justice for those who have suffered due to having been placed on a blacklist. Guney, Clark & Ryan issued the claim on 20th March 2012 against Sir Robert McAlpine. In seeking to defend that claim, they have added as co-defendants 10 of the other major construction companies in the UK namely, Balfour Beatty, BAM , Carillion, Costain, Laing, Kier Ltd, Skanska, Vinci, Taylor Woodrow and AMEC
Until very recently, there had been little or no support from the trades unions, of which many of those individuals who are bringing the claim belong. Indeed it is only because of the hard work and dedication of these Claimants and Guney, Clark & Ryan in progressing their High Court claim against the face of so much opposition, that the Unions had to sit up, take notice and take action. As a result, with much media fanfare, the GMB in June 2013, UNITE in November 2013 and UCATT in November 2013 have all now also issued High Court claims of their own, and are running media campaigns highlighting their “fight” for justice for blacklisted workers despite years of previous inaction and there being ample evidence that implicates union officials in the supply of information to the blacklist.
A recent development has been an announcement by 8 of the construction companies involved in the High Court action initiated by Guney, Clark & Ryan to set up a compensation scheme, the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS). This is only in its infancy and a very basic draft framework of the proposals was sent out to interested parties including the trades unions. This has led to some inaccurate press reports of individuals being offered compensation ranging from £1000 up to £100,000. Not one of the 79 individuals bringing the High Court claim, nor any of the other 100-plus potential claimants that Guney, Clark & Ryan are advising have been made any offer, nor is it expected that any such offers will be made in the near future.
Lastly, after four and a half years of pressure, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has finally confirmed that they will now write directly to 1200 individuals named on the blacklist. However, somewhat incomprehensibly, the ICO (an ostensibly neutral government body) when writing to these individuals will direct them to the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TWCS), referred to above, which is run by the very people who blacklisted them in the first place. The fact that the ICO is willing to direct victims to these firms clearly calls into question their supposed impartiality. It is worth remembering that, to date, the ICO has not taken any criminal legal action against a single blacklisting firm despite mountains of documentary evidence that they have repeatedly and consistently broken the law.
25th November - ICO letter to 1200 individuals on Blacklist - UPDATE
The ICO has bowed to pressure and seen sense and will now also refer individuals to whom they are writing to the independent GCR High Court claim and to the Blacklist Support Group
24th November 2013 - GCR mentioned in the Guardian
22nd November 2013- ICO letter to 1200 on Blacklist "disgrace"
GCR has learned that disgracefully the letter that the ICO is sending to 1200 individuals named on the Construction Industry Blacklist will not include reference the independent High Court claim being brought by GCR or to the Blacklist Support Group. but will refer to the Compensation Scheme currently being set up by the very comapnies involved in the Blacklist and to actions being brought by the Unions
20th November 2013 - Liam Dunne of GCR speaks at Houses of Parliament Committee Room in relation to "blacklisting"
20th November 2013 - ICO to write 1200 individuals on Construction Industry Blacklist
20th November 2013 - The 20th November saw the TUC Day of Action on Blacklisting
20th November 2013 - IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION ON THE PROPOSED COMPENSATION SCHEME
GCR want to clarify in light of a number of recent press articles suggesting otherwise, that in relation to the 79 individuals we act for bringing the High Court claim and the approx 100 others we are advising on the merits of bringing a claim that none of them have recieved any offers of compensation whatsoever.
The proposed Construction Workers Compensation Scheme is only at a very early stage and as set out below so far only a draft skeleton framework has been produced iniviting responses.
It is therefore unhelpful for inaccuarate figures to be bandied about by other and in the press regarding levels of compensation individuals will recieve.
20th November 2013 - Clarification on Daily Mirror article
The Daily Mirror article attached below refers to GCR lauching a High Court claim "next week". This is incorrect, GCR issued its High Court Claim on behalf of blacklisted individuals on 19th March 2012. the 29th November will see the first High Court Hearing in relation to that claim. GMB issued its cliam in June 2013 and UCATT and UNITE in November 2013.
18th November 2013 - GCR respond to TCWCS draft framework regarding compensation
GCR have written to TCWCS in response to its letter of 1st November setting out the proposed framework for a compensation scheme relating to Blacklisting setting out its concerns regarding the current format of the scheme and seeking clarification on a number of issues.
17th November 2013 - Article in Independent regarding proposed Compensation Scheme
1st November 2013 - The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme provide draft framework of proposed compensation scheme
The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme (TCWCS) has provided to GCR, BSG, the Unions and other interested parties a skeleton framwork for the proposed compensation scheme relating to Blacklist.
14th October 2013 - Police Collusion in the Construction Industry Blacklist
Sean Curran from GCR was quoted in the Guardian in relation to the issue of Police and Trade Union involvement in the Construction Industry Blacklist
Please see link to article
11th October 2013 - Liam Dunne of GCR interviewed on RTE Radio
Liam Dunne of GCR interviewed on RTE flagship morning news programme "Morning Ireland" in relation to Constructon Industry Blacklist
Please see attached link:
10th October 2013 - Blacklisted Worker on BBC London News
Dave Smith , one the claimants in GCR High Court action concerning the Construction Industry Blacklist speaks to BBC London News.
Please see link for the feature:
10th October 2013: LEADING CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES TO SET UP COMPENSATION FUND
Eight major construction firms caught-up in the blacklist scandal have
launched a compensation scheme for construction workers on The Consulting Association database.
The companies – Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir
Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI – are all “apologising for their
involvement with TCA and the impact that its database may have had on any
individual construction worker.”
The eight have joined together to establish The Construction Workers
Sean Curran – partner at Guney Clark & Ryan said: “GCR cautiously welcomes the proposal for an industry wide
“Our primary commitment is to achieve justice for the claimants we represent
and we will not be diverted from this aim.
“We make it clear that we will not consent to any agreement that does not
properly reflect the serious emotional and financial distress that our clients
have so unjustifiably suffered.
“It is our hope that any proposal adequately reflects the injustice so
inherent in the very concept of blacklisting.”
A spokesman for the Blacklist Support Group said: “It is no coincidence that
all of the companies signed up to Blacklisting Compensation Scheme are named
defendants in the High Court claim.
“This is a cynical move intended to reduce corporate reputational damage.”
Links to articles concerning the compensation scheme:
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