Unions make assurances plea for staff at inter serve
UNIONS are calling on the government to give assurances to workers at Interserve, which has several operations here, after the outsourcing giant revealed it is seeking a rescue deal.
Shares in the government contractor plummeted yesterday after it said shareholders are likely to see their stakes diluted as part of a plan to cut its debt.
Interserve operates facility management services at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen. It invested £7.8m towards the private finance initiative (PFI) hospital.
It has also been involved in the construction and operation of schools and colleges across the province, including the South West College, as well as recent building projects in Strabane, Downpatrick, Portglenone and Belfast.
It has premises on the Stewartstown Road in Belfast. At one time, it employed around 400 people here.
It emerged over the weekend that the company was holding talks with lenders over its £500m debt pile. Unions voiced fears that workers could be facing a repeat of the collapse of Carillion.
A spokesman for the company had no detail about its operations here. Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The financial difficulties that Interserve finds itself in is another dire warning of the dangers of outsourcing public services for private profit.
“We want to know from ministers what contingency plans are in place should Interserve be unable to restructure its finances.
“We would support a temporary ban on Interserve bidding for public sector contracts, while it attempts to resolve its problems.”