Major UK construction companies are to compensate workers whose names were on a secret industry blacklist.

The development follows years of campaigning by unions after it was discovered that more than 3,200 names, mainly of building workers, were kept on the list, drawn up by a shadowy organisation called the Consulting Association.

Workers involved claimed they were denied work, often for merely raising legitimate concerns about health and safety on building sites.

Legal action is being taken on behalf of some of those on the list.

The eight firms announced that they are working together to develop a scheme to compensate construction workers whose names were on The Consulting Association (TCA) database.

"The companies - Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Laing O'Rourke, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska UK and VINCI PLC - all apologise for their involvement with TCA and the impact that its database may have had on any individual construction worker," the statement said.

"The companies have joined together to establish the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme. The scheme is intended to make it as simple as possible for any worker with a legitimate claim to access compensation," the statement added.

The companies have invited workers' representatives to enter into a period of engagement to ensure that the proposed terms of the scheme are "fair and effective".

The companies involved in the scheme would support the introduction of a code of conduct to ensure nothing like this can happen within the construction industry again, the statement added.

The Consulting Association was closed down following a raid on its West Midlands offices by the UK Information Commissioner's Office.

But unions said workers continued to be discriminated against if their names were on the list.

A total of 44 firms were found to be using the blacklist. The names of a number of environmental activists were also on the blacklist.

Unions in the UK have called for a Leveson-style inquiry into the scandal.