Union voices fears that ex-Carillion workers will have pay slashed

THE Unite union has urged the government to ensure that former Carillion workers don’t have their pay and conditions cut when they are transferred to new employers.

Auditors PWC have written to union representatives, beginning the process of making the workforce compulsorily redundant following the collapse of the construction giant on January 15.

The UK Government announced at the time that workers employed on the firm’s 450 public sector contracts would continue to be employed. It was then announced that on 90% of the private sector outsourced contracts, short-term arrangements had been arrived at and these workers would continue to be paid while longer term arrangements were made.

However, Unite revealed that in PWC’s letter they have confirmed that the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) will not apply. The letter says: “In this situation staff will not automatically transfer under TUPE because a winding up order has been made against each of the [Carillion] companies.”

Unite said this means that staff can be transferred to different private companies on inferior rates of pay.

The letter also states: Consequently we are seeking agreement from any new providers that they will take on as many affected staff as they can on appropriate terms.
“Where there is an opportunity for contracts or projects to continue with a new employer (under TUPE or otherwise), transfers may need to happen very quickly to facilitate securing roles for Carillion employees with new employers. It is quite possible that moves may need to be completed within a matter of days – perhaps less. We cannot confirm any specific transfer today but such transfers could happen before 31 January in some cases.”

Unite added that is being told the only exception where TUPE does apply is for Carillion workers in the prison service as their specific company Carillion (AMBS) Limited is in provisional liquidation and no winding up order has been made.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said, “This is a further slap in the face for Carillion workers and demonstrates the hollowness of the government’s initial promises. Even if the jobs of workers are preserved they now face the prospect of being transferred to new companies without warning with potentially far lower rates of pay and poorer conditions.

“The Government and its task force needs to immediately get a grip of this issue and to ensure that companies taking on Carillion workers respect their existing pay, conditions, pensions and length of service. A situation where other companies were able to enrich themselves by picking up contracts and slashing workers’ pay is absolutely intolerable.

“Unite is pleased that good employers are already doing the honourable thing and preserving workers terms and conditions when they are transferred. If companies think they can boost profits by slashing pay and terms and conditions then Unite will use all available legal avenues to prevent this.

“The collapse of Carillion had nothing to do with its workers who are yet again facing an uncertain future through absolutely no fault of their own. n many cases these workers have been continuing to provide vital public services since the company’s collapse.”