Dave Smith says if Carillon – which apologised to blacklist victims – wants its money, it’ll have to come after it
Carillion is one of eight multinational building contractors that recently issued “a full and unreserved apology” for their role in blacklisting of union members in the construction industry, claiming to “recognise and regret the impact it had on employment opportunities for those workers affected and for any distress and anxiety it caused to them and their families”.
The statement even went as far as stating “ever since the closure of The Consulting Association in 2009, we have been focused on trying to do the right thing by affected workers”.
Yet only days after the apology, the firm’s lawyers, Clarks Legal, submitted a claim for £3,500 worth of legal costs against blacklisted worker Dave Smith.
Dave Smith said: “How much is a blacklisting apology from Carillion worth? They have admitted their guilt to the High Court for their involvement in blacklisting in general. They have told an employment tribunal which of their managers added information to my blacklist file. They continue to make completely unsubstantiated accusations about me using all the resources available to them as a multinational corporation.
“I am an ex-construction worker who tried to improve safety on building sites but was forced to leave the industry because of their managers’ active involvement in blacklisting. Their apology isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. I hope public authorities around the world ban them and the other blacklisting wretches from all public contracts for their human right violations.
“Carillion claim to want to do the right thing. Over the years, these people have sacked me, blacklisted me, fought me in the courts and badmouthed me on their corporate website all because I tried to improve safety for my fellow workers. But now I have to pay over three grand for the privilege. That’s some apology!
“I have no intention of paying a penny towards the legal costs of these money grabbing hypocrites. If they want their blood money, they will have to come after it.”
The legal costs relate to a submission made by Carillion arguing that Smith should not be allowed to have his blacklisting claim heard in the UK Supreme Court and include charges of £600 for one hour’s work from John Bowers QC.
Smith’s legal test-case generated considerable publicity after the company admitted that their senior managers had supplied information to the notorious Consulting Association blacklist about the engineer because of his trade union activities after he had raised concerns about health and safety on a number of their projects.
The original employment tribunal was even told the name of the senior manager who provided the information: John Ball, former head of industrial relations for Carillion based at their Wolverhampton head office.
Ball had previously held the same role for Tarmac in the very same office before the company name change and in his official capacity was one of the founding members of the Consulting Association. Yet Smith still lost his test-case because as an agency worker he was not protected by UK employment law, which only covers direct employees. Smith requested to have his case heard at the Supreme Court but this was refused and Carillion is claiming their legal costs for sending a written submission on this issue. Carillion have previously claimed £7,500 from the blacklisted agency worker after the Court of Appeal hearing.
Declan Owens, a solicitor representing Dave Smith said: “We were surprised that Carillion pursued Dave Smith for the costs of the Supreme Court application. Nevertheless, they have always been aware of the restrictive interpretation of the British courts when they consider the nature of the employment relationship between agency workers and employers.
“Therefore, they are confident that an application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg alleging a failure of the UK government to uphold Mr Smith’s right to privacy and his freedom of association under Articles 8 and 11 European Convention on Human Rights will succeed and vindicate him for the injustice he has suffered through blacklisting by Carillion”.
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