Unite calls for criminal investigations into Carillion collapse

Unite, the UK’s construction union, has called for an immediate criminal investigation into the key individuals involved in the collapse of Carillion.

Speaking today (Monday 10 September) at the TUC Congress in Manchester, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail made the demand and called on the entire union movement to throw their weight behind Unite’s call.

In her speech Gail Cartmail said: “Eight months after Carillion’s collapse the Insolvency Service is only just beginning to investigate if laws were broken. This is simply too little too late.

“There must be an immediate criminal investigation into Carillion. And we the trade union movement must lead that call. If no laws were broken, then we need, better, stronger laws.”

When Carillion collapsed in January this year Unite called for a full public inquiry into the circumstances of the company’s collapse and the government’s role in propping the company up after it began to experience severe financial problems.

Unite has now stepped up its call after a steady stream of revelations exposing the mismanagement and highly dubious practices which led to Carillion’s collapse.

Sir John Bourn, the former auditor general has described Carillion as acting like a ‘Ponzi scheme’. Finance expert Frances Coppola has said that Carillion ‘was effectively insolvent from 2016’.

When Carillion collapsed it had £7 billion of liabilities, including a £2.6 billion deficit in its pension funds with just £29 million left in the bank.

The company had 19,000 employees over 3,000 of whom were made redundant. There were a further 35,000 people employed in Carillion’s supply chain and via sub-contractors. Many of these companies went to the wall and hundreds if not thousands of workers have lost their jobs.

Less than a year before Carillion collapsed it paid record dividends to its shareholders on the basis the company was performing so well.

While workers were being made redundant, many of Carillion’s former directors and senior managers have walked into new lucrative employment.

Gail Cartmail added: “The government and other organisations are treating Carillion’s collapse as business as normal.

“There is nothing normal about the biggest corporate collapse in the UK’s history.

“While thousands of workers have been thrown on the scrapheap, those responsible for driving the company into the ditch, have dusted themselves off and started again as if nothing had happened.

“If nothing criminal occurred then we should be told how on earth it can be legal to have embarked on the policies pursued by Carillion’s management team which drove it to the wall with little prior warning.”