GMB says the company must now take steps to compensate those whose working lives were blighted by the unlawful practice

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The GMB has welcomed an apology from the construction and services giant, Carillion over its role in the surveillance and blacklisting of trade union reps.

(Pictured: GMB members and anti-blacklisting campaigners at Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival, July 2012)

The union says it is ’an important first step’, but says the company must now also agree to compensate those whose working lives were blighted by the unlawful practice.

Carillion’s  chief executive, Richard Howson is quoted as saying: ‘Carillion is led by strong values and we take our commitment to transparency and openness extremely seriously, which is why we are sorry that one of our former subsidiary businesses, Crown House Engineering, used the Consulting Association’s database to reference individuals.

“This was not consistent with the high standards of behaviour that we set for ourselves, based on our core values.”

Carillion’s involvement with blacklisting came to light when, in 2009, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) seized a database of containing files on more than 3,200 construction workers, which was used by 44 companies to vet new recruits and prevent the employment trade union and health and safety activists.

The ICO has confirmed that 224 construction workers from around the UK were victims of blacklisting by Carillion.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said “This is an important first step in recognition of the disgraceful and immoral behaviour of Carillion and many other construction companies.

“It has taken years of campaigning to get companies like Carillion to drop their denials and cover ups.

“GMB looks forward to Carillion and other construction companies publishing full details of all the people they blacklisted and accepting their full responsibilities in this matter.

As lawyers for victims of blacklisting in the 1990’s and 2000’s make final preparations for a High Court compensation claim, GMB is stepping up political efforts to lobby local authorities – in Birmingham and on Merseyside – to reconsider bids from Carillion for major publicly-funded construction projects.


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