Union calls for crim­i­nal probe into Car­il­lion

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

IN­DI­VID­U­ALS in­volved in the col­lapse of con­struc­tion firm Car­il­lion should face crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to the UK’s largest trade union.

Unite union’s as­sis­tant gen­eral sec­re­tary Gail Cart­mail has made the call at the TUC con­fer­ence in Manch­ester.

Car­il­lion went bust in Jan­uary af­ter re­ceiv­ing pub­lic con­tracts worth bil­lions of pounds, in­clud­ing the con­struc­tion of Birm­ing­ham Metropoli­tan Hospi­tal and de­sign work on tun­nels for HS2 rail.

It was also work­ing on new pri­vate sec­tor of­fice blocks at Par­adise in Birm­ing­ham city cen­tre when it went bust.

In her speech, Ms 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.”

Unite has pre­vi­ously called for a full pub­lic in­quiry into the col­lapse of Car­il­lion and the fact that ma­jor con­tracts were warn­ing signs.

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.

Ms Cart­mail added that thou­sands of work­ers and ap­pren­tices were “dumped with­out warn­ing” when Car­il­lion col­lapsed.

“The Govern­ment still awarded de­spite 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.”

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