GMB “Crocodile Tears” Tour To Shame Blacklisters As Hearing In High Court Resumed 16th October

17 Oct 2014


Managers shedding crocodile tears now for blacklisting of 3,213 workers won’t wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of “just following superior orders says GMB.
GMB will hold 10 protest demonstrations in the first leg of a national “Crocodile Tears” Tour to shame 63 construction industry managers named as blacklisters who have yet to come clean and apologise for their actions.

The tour will start in Darlington, on Tuesday 21 October with a person in a crocodile suit accompanied by union members with flags and banners and slogans “Nuremberg defence on blacklisting won’t wash” and “Blacklisters come clean”. The details of the first 10 dates are shown below. See notes to editors for the full list if these managers and where they worked.

This comes as Law firm Leigh Day resume action in the High Court in London tomorrow (October 16th) seeking compensation for 122 GMB members blacklisted by Carillion and other construction employers. The claims were served on 27th November 2013. GMB’s claims were joined with a further 449 claims by other unions and parties at a High Court Hearing in July 2014. 

Talks between GMB and lawyers representing construction employers (Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC)  on a compensation scheme for 3,213 blacklisted workers broke down in June over the amount of money being put into the scheme by the employers. Employers have unilaterally launched a cut price scheme GMB estimates will cost less than 2% of the combined profits of the eight construction firms.

Blacklisting came to light when in 2009 the ICO seized a Consulting Association database of 3,213 construction workers and environmental activists used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and keep out of employment trade union and health and safety activists.

So far 1,724 out of the 3,213 on the list know they are on blacklist. 467 were identified by themselves on by their unions. 570 cases are covered by claims in the High Court. ICO contacted direct a further 1,257 and of these 776 has now been sent a copy of their files.  That leaves 1,489 still to trace. See notes to editors for details of where those blacklisted come from.

The dates for the first leg of the Crocodile Tears Tour are as follows:
· Darlington - 21 October Lynne Day, Personnel Director, Cleveland Bridge: Cleveland House, Yarm Road, Darlington, Co Durham, DL1 4DE.
· Leeds – 22nd October Valerie Bennison, HR for Head Office Directorates and SCS at Child Maintenance Group, DWP: Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS2 7UA.
· Wolverhampton 23th October Liz Keates of Carillion, Birch Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 4HY
· Sandy Bedfordshire 28th October Paul McCreath, HR Director, Kier Group: Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2BD..and Kathy Almansoor, Group Employee Relations Manager, Kier     Group: Tempsford Hall, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2BD.
· Glasgow 29th October Gerry Harvey, Human Resources Development Director at Balfour Beatty Engineering Services: Lumina Building, 40 Ainslie Road, Hillngton Park, Glasgow G52 4RU.
· Aberdeen 30th October Kevin Gorman, Vice President Human Resources, Harland Group: Ocean Spirit House, 33 Waterloo Quay, Aberdeen AB11 5BS. Was Liz Keates superior at Crown House Engineering.
· Reading University Tuesday 3rd November for lecturer in HR Shelia Knight,  EMCOR.
· London Wednesday 4th November Paul Raby, Group HR Director, Balfour Beatty: 130 Wilton Road, London SW1V 1LQ.
· West Midlands on Monday, 10th November 2014 details to be confirmed.
· Cheshire Tuesday 11th November - Arnold Nestler, Human Resources Services Director, AMEC: Booths Park, Chelford Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 8QZ.

Maria Ludkin, GMB National Officer for Legal and Corporate Affairs, said “GMB is looking forward to tomorrow’s hearing, which will be a key opportunity for the master to hear for himself, the numerous applications from the construction companies designed to try and delay proceedings, increase costs and undermine blacklisted workers pursuit of justice at a full hearing.

We also note the ICO’s continuing non-compliance with the Court order which would allow the plaintiffs to contact workers who still do not know they were blacklisted. This fits the continuing and disappointing pattern of behaviour from the government regulator, which has only served to benefit the blacklisting companies, by minimising the number of claims against them”.

Justin Bowden, GMB national officer said, ‘They might have thought they had got away scot-free, so shedding crocodile tears now for the systematic blacklisting of 3,213 building workers and environmentalists won’t wash, neither will the Nuremberg Defence of “just following superior orders”.

These so-called HR Professionals who ran the blacklists for the construction companies knew exactly what they were doing and they need to either apologise, come clean and say what they did, or get used to accounting in public for the damage they did to those they blacklisted and their families, especially with the Public Inquiry Labour has pledged after the next election. 

Just as the construction companies who paid their wages are being called to account in parliament, the courts and the media, every single one of these secret blacklisters will have their role dissected in public.’

Contact Justin Bowden on 07710 631351 or Maria Ludkin 07956 632 657 or GMB press office at 07921 289880 or 07974 251 823
For information on High Court action contact Leigh Day: David Standard 07540 332717 or Michael Newman 0795 223 9358 or Chris Benson on 07795425649.
For people to identify more names on the blacklist call please call Phil Read at GMB on 07840 897997 or email him .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Contact Dave Smith 07882 579 452 re Blacklist Support Group