A judgement is expected this Friday in an employment tribunal where construction firms have admitted supplying information to a blacklist file to penalise a worker because of his trade union activities.
At the Central London Employment Tribunal, Dave Smith (pictured with some of his 36-page blacklisting file [picture courtesy of Mick Holder]) and the respondent companies, Carillion, Carillion (JM) Limited (previously John Mowlem Limited), and Schal International Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Carillion) agreed a joint statement of facts.
The companies admitted that:
- They blacklisted Smith
- Their managers supplied information to the Consulting Association blacklist about Smith
- The reason was because of Smith's trade union activities
- An additional reason was because Smith raised concerns about health & safety on building sites
- The blacklisting caused Smith a "detriment"
In return for this statement from the companies, Smith agreed that he was not a direct employee of any of the respondent companies but worked via employment agencies (and because only "employees" are protected under current UK law, he should not be able to win his Tribunal)
Carillion then applied for the case to be struck out as having no reasonable chance of success but the tribunal refused the application and the case now continues until Friday.
There is now the possibility that the case could set a major legal precedent if relevant employment laws are found to cover agency workers not just direct employees of a guilty company.
The blacklist came to light when the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) raided the Consulting Association in March 2009. The secretive company, a direct descendent of the Economic League, had spent years compiling blacklists on thousands of workers on behalf of dozens of construction firms.
The sales book and invoices disclosed by the ICO to the tribunal show that between 1999 and 2004 Carillion paid £32,145 plus VAT to the Consulting Association, while Mowlem paid a total of £20,444 plus VAT.
Senior managers from both companies attended regional meetings as part of the blacklisting operation. Invoices indicate that managers from Carillion were attending Consulting Association meetings only months before the organisation was closed down.
The tribunal continues.