Unite union calls for criminal investigation into Carillion collapse

Annette McGill

The UK’s largest union, Unite, has called for an immediate criminal investigation into the individuals involved in the collapse of facilities management and construction services company Carillion.  

When Carillion collapsed in January 2018, it was the biggest construction collapse in UK history. The company had amassed £7 billion in liabilities, but had only £29 million in the bank. 

Speaking the Trades Union Congress in Manchester, Unite Assistant General Secretary Gail Cartmail called on the entire union movement to support demands for a criminal investigation. She said: “There must be an immediate criminal investigation into Carillion. And we the trade union movement must lead that call."

Cartmail said: “If no laws were broken, then we need, better, stronger laws.” 

Carillion provided property services in defence, education, health and transport. It left creditors and the firm’s pensioners facing heavy losses and schools and hospitals were left with half-built construction projects. More than 3,000 of Carillion’s 19,000 employees were made redundant. A further 35,000 people were employed in Carillion’s supply chain and via sub-contractors. Many of these suppliers were bankrupted, and hundreds workers lost their jobs. 

Less than a year before Carillion collapsed the company paid record dividends to its shareholders. 

Cartmail said: “The government and other organisations are treating Carillion’s collapse as business as normal. There is nothing normal about the biggest corporate collapse in the UK’s history."

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members. It works across the UK construction industry and also throughout the construction products supply chain. 

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