Thousands of construction workers on an industry “blacklist” will be offered between £1,000 and £100,000 in compensation.
Eight major construction firms have set up a fund for workers whose names appeared on a secret “blacklist”.
The opening offer from the industry to 3,000 workers ranges up to £100,000 for some individuals, according to the Financial Times.
The Blacklist Support Group – representing the blacklisted workers – has criticised the payback scheme as a “publicity stunt” after learning that some workers will receive just £1,000.
The construction blacklist, used by 40 of the biggest companies, was discovered in a raid by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2009.
Run by a small firm called The Consulting Association, it contained 3,219 names of workers and hundreds of environmentalists.
Its aim was to identify suspected “troublemakers” taking part in trade union activity or raising safety concerns. Many on the list say they were in effect barred from certain construction sites for years.
The Construction Workers Compensation Scheme was launched in September by eight companies including Sir Robert McAlpine, Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Carillion.
The payout will be limited by the fact that about 2,700 people do not know they were on the list.
Initial compensation talks were held between the companies’ representatives and the Blacklist Support Group earlier this month.
The BSG, made up of blacklisted workers, said at that time that the talks ended in “acrimony” and that they had walked out of the meeting, held in the City of London on 6 November, “in disgust”.
Roy Bentham, a blacklisted joiner from Liverpool and UCATT member, said: “Blacklisting breached our human rights, forced us into years of unemployment and made our families suffer financially.
“The blacklist compensation scheme press release claims they are making this offer because of their altruistic concerns for blacklisted workers.
“But these blacklisting wretches have the brass neck to offer £1,000 in compensation. They can shove their grand, right up their profit margin.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies