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Union Unite wins last-minute adjournment for blacklisting hearing

Union Unite has won a last-minute appeal to postpone the date of a court hearing for more than 90 members seeking compensation from leading construction firms over blacklisting.

The call for an adjournment came after three of the four unions due to take the case to court agreed settlements last week.

The hearing, which was set to start on Monday (9 May) has been put back to Tuesday 7 June. It is expected to last 11 weeks.

Unite director of legal services Howard Beckett said: “The reason for the application [for an adjournment] was that the four claimant teams have now become one which meant that it was impractical for the trial to start on Monday 9 May.

“In addition, some late disclosure has come in from the Information Commissioner’s Office and this evidence needs to be considered and evaluated by our legal team.

“Unite still represents about 90 members whose jobs were ruined and lives turned upside down by the ‘blacklisting’ scandal.”

The union added that it expects Sir Robert McAlpine director Cullum McAlpine, who it describes as “the alleged architect of the ‘blacklisting’ scandal” to give evidence on 21 June.

Last week, GCR, GMB and Ucatt agreed out of court settlements with the group of eight contractors, which last year made a full public apology for their role in blacklisting workers.

The eight firms are Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O’Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and Vinci.

The settlements mean the majority of claimants have now received compensation.

Mr Beckett said Unite was continuing to negotiate on behalf of its members.

He added: “The key question that has to be asked of the construction firms, which made an unprecedented admission of guilt last October, is why have they not yet settled?

“Unite continues to seek maximum compensation and justice on behalf of our members following those admissions.”

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