Blacklisted construction worker begins legal action against Carillion Group

An engineer working on a DLR construction site has begun an appeal today at an employment tribunal after being blacklisted.

Dave Smith was among thousands of workers all over Britain who were blacklisted for being trade union activists.

He was a TUC Health & Safety rep and member of the Occupational Safety & Health Institute working on sites in London and Essex, including the DLR Mudchute station contract on the Isle of Dogs, when he was barred from the industry.

“I have not had an apology or one penny compensation from the company which kept me out of work,” he said. “It cost me and my family hundreds of thousands in lost wages—I want justice from the courts.”

He discovered he had a file running to 36 pages which listed him by name, with his address, date of birth, National Insurance number, work history and even his car registration.

Dave is appealing against Carillion Construction for £200,000 damages, having lost a hearing last year on a technicality because he was not directly employed by the company, according to the GMB union. The tribunal judge agreed he had “suffered a genuine injustice” but the law provided no remedy.

His lawyers today are arguing that the Tribunal decision violated the Human Rights Act and European Convention protecting privacy and freedom of association.

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He was dismissed and refused work once his name appeared on the Consulting Association’s blacklist after raising concerns about asbestos, poor toilet facilities and contaminated waste on building sites controlled by the Carillion Group.

Several Carrillion managers were named in Parliament by the Scottish Affairs Committee last November as being involved in blacklisting, including its personnel director and senior figures in human resources.

The blacklisting scandal came to light in 2009 when the Information Commissioner’s Office seized a Consulting Association database of 3,200 names used by 44 companies to vet new recruits—the association was later shut down.

A move banning Tower Hamlets Council dishing out lucrative contracts to companies involved in blacklisting was agreed in January. The London Assembly also voted to ban blacklisting which was first linked to the Olympic construction site in 2007 when companies vetted recruits.