In the wake of last year’s collapse of outsourcing giant Carillion, a report by Unite has picked through the ruins of the company, finding an endlessly intricate system of shell companies such that many workers had no idea who their employer really was, with “hordes” of separate companies operating within the group, many of them not even featuring the Carillion name.
This web of deceit was exposed in the course of union efforts to go through the courts in pursuit of redundancy claims. The process was made even more difficult by insolvency rules that made it necessary to get high court permission to take forward workers’ cases.
All this of course is another opportunity for the corporate lawyers to further raid the public purse. According to Unite’s Howard Beckett: “Administrators and special managers are able to contest cases made by unions for a protected award [for failing to inform and consult workers before making them redundant] not because they have any realistic hope of winning but in order to boost their fees.
“Usually this money is taken from the carcass of the failed company. In the case of Carillion, where there was no money left, this money is being paid directly by the taxpayer.” (Complicated task of obtaining redundancy pay for Carillion workers revealed, Breaking News Ireland, 1 January 2019)