DOZENS of construction workers across the North-East and North Yorkshire were illegally blacklisted and rejected for jobs because of their trade union membership, according to the GMB.

The construction workers union has released a list showing how many of its members appeared on a secret industry blacklist that aimed to keep known trade union and health and safety activists from getting work.

Union leaders have launched a campaign to win compensation for those affected and have called on people who suspect they might have been blacklisted to get in touch.

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At least 130 construction workers from across the North-East appear on the blacklist, with 18 people affected in Hartlepool and 11 in Middlesbrough.

Workers in Durham, Darlington and Stockton, as well as the wider areas of County Durham and Cleveland, are also featured on the list.

A smaller number of North Yorkshire-based workers are affected, including people based in York, Knaresborough and Whitby.

The list was first uncovered in 2009, when the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) seized a Consulting Association national database of 3,213 construction workers, which was used by 44 companies to vet new recruits.

None of the people who were on the list were informed by the ICO and many were left in the dark about why they had become ‘unemployable’.

The GMB is working to identify and inform its members who are on the blacklist, and to help them fight for compensation by using data from the blacklist to carry out a cross-check of its own records.

Paul Kenny, GMB general secretary, said: "People have been deprived of an honest living through these illegal tactics which has blighted their families’ lives. They have been the victims of injustice over many years by multi-national companies. Not a single company has yet been punished nor have any of them paid compensation.

“GMB priority now is to step up the campaign to get each and every GMB members blacklisted proper compensation.”

The GMB has asked construction workers who were trade union or health and safety activists and were denied work for reasons they could not explain to get in touch so that the union can check to see if they were on the blacklist.

For more information call Phil Read at GMB on 01603-742877 or 07840-897997 or email him at