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Economy Thousands fear the worst as Carillion confirms sackings

Union Unite says workers face chaos as firm announces redundancies

UNITE warned today that thousands of workers at collapsed outsourcing firm Carillion face “chaos and confusion” after hundreds of redundancies were confirmed.

A spokesperson for the official receiver said that 919  jobs have been protected but, “despite best efforts,” 377 staff would be made redundant.

Most of the 919 workers will transfer to a new employer on “existing or similar terms,” the spokesperson said, adding that the official receiver would continue to work to find new providers for Carillion’s existing contracts.

The company’s collapse last month left a £900 million debt pile, a £590 million pension deficit and hundreds of millions of pounds worth of unfinished public contracts.

The official receiver’s spokesperson said laid-off workers would be entitled to make a claim for statutory redundancy payments and the Jobcentre Plus “rapid response service” would provide support.

But a Unite spokesperson said the latest announcements meant that “thousands of workers remain in limbo” with their future is still uncertain.

“The latest redundancy announcement has increased the feeling of chaos and confusion which has stalked Carillion since its collapse last month,” the spokesperson said.

“Workers don’t know if they will get paid from one day to the next and could be made redundant or transferred to a new contractor on lower wages at a moment's notice.

“Thousands of workers remain in limbo and don't know if they will be able to continue to feed their families.”

GMB national secretary Rehana Azam said: “GMB has repeatedly urged both the receiver and PWC [a giant accountancy appointed as special managers of Carillion by the High Court] to follow a proper procedure and consult over redundancies.

“Dismissing Carillion workers with virtually no notice is unacceptable and not the way to treat workers, particularly as the government has set up a task force to support workers and services.”

A government spokesman said: “Understandably, this will be a very difficult time for those who have been made redundant and their families.

“As with almost all insolvencies, there are unfortunately a number of redundancies, and government stands ready to support those affected through Jobcentre Plus’s Rapid Response Service.

“We continue to work hard to minimise the impacts of insolvency and ensure that public services run safely.”

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