On the first anniversary of Carillion’s demise, the UK’s leading construction union has lambasted government inaction and warned that it “could result in future corporate meltdowns”.
The Unite union has said it is “staggering” how it seems like business as usual for the government since the fall of Carillion on 15 January 2018 and despite the scale of the collapse, no action has been taken against any of the firm’s former directors or senior managers.
Folding wit £7 billion of liabilities and just £29 million left in the bank, experts believe that Carillion had been trading while insolvent for several years prior to its collapse. Furthermore, its fall saw nearly 3,000 staff made redundant with many other workers in the company’s supply chain also losing their jobs.
Lack of action or punishment to those thought to be responsible has led to Unite calling for an immediate criminal investigation and demanding more answers into the circumstances surrounding the collapse of the former construction giant.
The union estimates the cost to the taxpayer for Carillion’s collapse is well in excess of £150 million, with much of this money paid to accountants PwC, who have been paid in excess of £50 million to act as ‘special managers’ to break up the company.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail has said the government has “failed to end bandit capitalism in the UK” and government needs to take effective action to drive it out.
“It is staggering that a year after the biggest corporate failure in modern UK history the government has carried on as though it is business as normal,” she added. The government’s failure to take action to ensure that there cannot be similar collapses in the future is a betrayal of workers, who still face being cast on the scrapheap without warning because of irresponsible directors who place profits and shareholder dividends before people. The fact that no one involved in Carillion has yet had any form of action taken against them, demonstrates either that the regulators are failing to do their jobs or that existing laws are too weak.”
Unite has also made reference to important projects that remain unfinished like Royal Liverpool and Midland Metropolitan hospitals. Work on both projects stopped immediately when the firm went bust last year and work on both has still not restarted. The cost of both projects has rocketed and both hospitals will be at least three years late before they are operational.