Unite launches new legal action over the blacklisting of builders

Unite launches new legal action over the blacklisting of builders

- in Unite
workers on building site

Union’s case follows a £10m payout last year and names four men who chaired an organisation that monitored construction workers.

Unite the Union is seeking compensation for over 70 workers in the construction industry who were “blacklisted” by some of the biggest construction companies in the country.

The new legal action is targeted directly at the key individuals behind an organisation called the Consulting Association, which the construction industry used to monitor over 3,000 workers.

Last year around £10m was paid in compensation to over 250 construction workers who were on the Consulting Association’s ‘blacklist’, which is believed to have been in place for 30 years.

Unite’s case involves workers who were not part of that previous action and names four individuals who held the title of chairman at the Consulting Association: David Cochrane and Cullum McAlpine, previously of Sir Robert McAlpine; Danny O’Sullivan, formerly of Kier; and Stephen Quant, previously of Skanska.

The action alleges those companies along with nine others engaged in unlawful conspiracy, breach of privacy, defamation and Data Protection Act offences.

Howard Beckett, Unite’s assistant general secretary for legal affairs, said:

Unite is determined to ensure that the people directly responsible for blacklisting workers and ruining their lives are brought to justice and have to answer for their actions.

Since 2009, the individuals who were the controlling minds behind the systematic blacklisting of workers have sought to avoid taking responsibility for their actions. The workers who had their lives ruined deserve to see the leading blacklisters in court.


In a statement, Sir Robert McAlpine said that it had a “zero-tolerance policy towards blacklisting, illegal or unfair recruitment practices and we expect all our sub-contractors to comply with this.” It also said the company had signed up to the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority construction protocol to further protect workers from exploitation.

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