December 2, 2013
High Court hearing in construction industry “blacklisting” claims
UCATT claimants allege breach of confidence and misuse of private information
On Friday 29 November the High Court heard from lawyers acting for 4 groups of claimants in actions brought over the alleged “blacklisting” of workers in the construction industry. Master Whitaker gave directions for all parties to set out details of their claims and defences in the actions, which already involve well over 100 workers. A further hearing will take place next April.
UCATT, the construction union, is one of the 4 groups. The UCATT claims are brought in breach of confidence and misuse of private information, as well as conspiracy to injure and data protection. Mark Warby QC of 5RB is advising the union on its claim, against a series of construction companies. He is leading John Samson, on the instructions of O H Parsons & Partners. The number of claimants and the number of defendant companies are both expected to grow.
Records which the claimants say amount to a “blacklist” were seized by the Information Commissioner’s Office during a 2009 raid on the Consulting Association, which has since closed down. It is alleged that the records, containing details such as trade union membership, involvement in industrial action, and political affiliations, were secretly used over many years by a group of construction companies to vet workers and to deny employment to those seen as potential troublemakers.
The other claimant groups involved are some 79 workers represented by solicitors Guney Clark & Ryan, members of the GMB, represented by Leigh Day & Co, and members of Unite, for whom Thompsons solicitors are acting.