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UNIONS lambasted the government yesterday following confirmation that apprentices caught up in the Carillion collapse will not be paid from later this week.
Skills Minister Anne Milton said that affected apprentices would only be paid by the receiver until the end of January.
The written answer to shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said that the Construction Industry Training Board was “utilising their existing employer contracts” and grant incentives to secure employers for apprentices.
“Once alternative employment has been secured, it will be the responsibility of these individual employers to determine the frequency of payments to their apprentices,” said Ms Milton.
Ms Rayner said: “This simply isn't good enough. Ministers had promised that these apprentices were being taken back in-house and that they were doing everything to keep them in training, but now they admit that they could stop being paid within a week.”
And construction union GMB national officer Rehana Azam said: “Once again the government's response to the Carillion crisis is inadequate and inept.
“These are young people starting out in their careers and they have no idea if they will have apprenticeships this time next week.
“It’s simply not good enough — the government has a duty of care to these people.
“They should give a guarantee these people gain the skills to become Britain’s future workforce.
“We were told every Carillion apprentice would be contacted. The evidence suggests that is not the case.”
The government also announced the launch of a new company to take over Carillion’s prisons management services including cleaning, reactive maintenance, landscaping and planned building repair work.
Yet the move was not well received by the PCS union, which represents ex-Carillion staff in the prison service.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This decision by [Justice Secretary] David Gauke to form a temporary government company for the ex-Carillion staff is short-sighted and wrong.
“While we welcome the initial protections for the staff and services involved, the work should be brought back fully in house under the control of HM Prison and Probation Service.
“This half-way house of a government company could well be a stepping stone to a further outsourcing of the work. It shows the government has learnt nothing from the collapse of Carillion.”
The Financial Reporting Council watchdog is to open an investigation into accountancy giant KPMG over its audits of Carillion.
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