News - Old Square Chambers team help to secure victory for Unite Claimants in Blacklisting Litigation

Employment & Discrimination - John Hendy QC, Ben Cooper QC

The biggest ‘blacklisting’ scandal in UK industrial history has concluded with a High Court victory for 256 workers who will receive more than £10 million in compensation.

John Hendy QC, Ben Cooper and Alex Just represented the Unite members, who worked in a wide variety of construction trades, during the long-running litigation.

The Old Square Chambers team helped to secure significant pay-outs for 256 Unite members, which ranged from £25,000 up to £200,000 per claimant, depending on factors such as the loss of income and the seriousness of the defamation.

In 2009 it emerged that a database of 3,213 names had been used by 44 construction firms to vet recruits and keep trade union and health and safety activists off major building sites including the Millennium Dome, Olympic Stadium and Ministry of Defence building in Whitehall.

The defendants in the High Court Group Litigation included Sir Robert McAlpine,  Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Skanska UK and VINCI.

In October 2015 these firms admitted breaches of confidence and being part of an organisation that collected defamatory information against the workers.

As well as financial compensation, admissions of guilt and formal apologies, the defendant companies also agreed to issue guidance to site managers to ensure blacklisting does not occur on a local level and to guarantee that Unite members receive no less favourable treatment for job applications, as a result of the blacklisting litigation.

John Hendy QC, Ben Cooper and Alex Just were, together with Anthony Hudson QC, instructed by Richard Arthur and Ann Rooney of Thompsons Solicitors.

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