Unite Scotland set to take legal action after Carillion breach obligations to give notice of redundancies
Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty says union will do everything necessary to safeguard workers’ rights
News that the construction giant Carillion has gone into liquidation puts 20,000 jobs at risk in the UK. Unite Scotland believes thousands of Carillion jobs are under threat in Scotland. However exact numbers can’t be determined yet as Carillion has not met its legal obligations to give notice of possible redundancies to its workforce.
Under current Labour laws, employers with a workforce more than 20 workers at one location are legally obliged to give employees 30 days’ notice of possible redundancies. Carillion have demonstrably failed to do that. As a result, Unite is set to take legal action to preserve workers’ rights in the face of the irresponsible actions of Carillion directors.
Unite’s Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty says: “Given today’s drastic events it’s clear that Carillion was legally obliged to give notice to the workforce in December of the possibility of redundancies. It hasn’t done that. So Unite is taking advice about legal action to secure the pay and pension rights of our members. Obviously saving jobs is the priority but we also have to make sure that workers don’t pay the price for what is boardroom greed and recklessness.”
Unite Scotland believes that the collapse of Carillion should be a stark warning about the obsessions across the UK, in Westminster, Holyrood, and local government about the privatisation of public services. Unite believes that for a long time putting public services out to private tender has started an undercutting merry go round which may have affected Carillion. It’s emerging now that the company has lost hundreds of millions because major contracts turned out to be loss-makers after tender bids were perilously low.
Pat Rafferty says “This is what happens after years of worship at the Holy Grail of privatisation. It starts with the mistaken belief that private provision is best and ends with the tax payer picking up a billion pound tab when reality proves that is not true. There needs to be a government inquiry to establish just what went wrong at Carillion so that lessons can be learned. Meantime the administrators have to determine what contracts held by Carillion can be brought into public control.”
Unite has welcomed the fact that the government and the administrators, PwC, have to date given guarantees about financial support for the continuation and completion of public contracts formally held by Carillion.