Unite is calling on the government to “consider all possible options” including bringing contracts in-house, as doubts continue to grow over the future of Carillion, the troubled construction and outsourcing giant.
Carillion employs over 20,000 workers and there are many more workers reliant on the company’s future in its supply chains.
Unite represents over 1,000 workers at the company and has many more members in the supply chain.
Aside from its construction business the company has a plethora of outsourced public sector contracts in health, education, the prison service and local authorities. It also has contracts in many other industrial sectors.
Despite the government having said that it “has contingency plans,” Unite believes it must go further and make clear that it is considering all options. This should include the possibility of bringing contracts back in-house.
Unite also believes that if the government provides any financial assistance or guarantees loans to Carillion, there must be an assurance that workers in the supply chain are protected. Carillion employs very few construction workers on its new build developments, instead relying on sub-contractors and agency labour.
Unite received assurances from Carillion after the company’s share price plunge last November and was assured there was nothing to “be concerned about”.
Carillion is understood to have debts and a pension deficit of £1.5bn but only has a stock market value of £100m. It is possible that the company’s banks will refuse to lend any further money.
“The government must consider all options while the future of Carillion hangs in the balance, including bringing contracts back in-house,” Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail, said.
“If taxpayer’s money is used to fund corporate mismanagement then the government should be looking to ensure that public sector contracts are brought back in-house at the earliest possible opportunity.
“If the government is forced to institute a rescue package they need to also ensure that the supply chain is fully protected as many of these workers lack even the protection of basic employment rights, as they are employed on a bogus self-employed basis, through agencies and via umbrella companies,” she added.