Individuals involved in the collapse of construction giant Carillion should face an immediate criminal investigation, a union leader has urged.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said the Insolvency Service was only just starting to investigate if laws were broken, eight months after the company went out of business.
She told the TUC Congress in Manchester: “This is simply too little too late.
“There must be an immediate criminal investigation into Carillion, and we the trade union movement must lead that call. If no laws were broken, then we need, better, stronger laws.”
She said thousands of workers and apprentices were “dumped without warning” when Carillion collapsed.
“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.
“While thousands of workers have been thrown on the scrapheap, those responsible for driving the company into the ditch have dusted themselves off and started again as if nothing had happened.
“If nothing criminal occurred then we should be told how on earth it can be legal to have embarked on the policies pursued by Carillion’s management team which drove it to the wall with little prior warning.”
She questioned why a company losing millions of pounds was shown to be making a profit on paper.
“I am advised not to say this was cooking the books, so I won’t.”
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, attacked the privatisation of public services, saying: “While Grenfell will forever be associated with neglect, Carillion will forever be associated with greed.”
The conference called for an independent inquiry into the collapse of Carillion, and into privatisation of public services.
Mr Prentis told the conference: “Privatisation is all about taking from the needy and giving to the greedy. It’s the pinnacle of vulture capitalism that leaves chaos, waste and human tragedy in its wake.
“Thirty miles from here lies an unfinished hospital, the Royal Liverpool. A £300 million building site abandoned by Carillion, as the company crumbled to dust.
“Carillion was a private company lauded by successive governments, deemed too big to fail.
“But its collapse left workers unpaid and apprentices sacked. Thousands of workers left worried about whether they still had jobs, their security wiped out overnight as their future came crashing down.
“The collapse of Carillion symbolises the failed dogma of privatisation. With the Royal Liverpool an epic monument to the trail of destruction wrought on our communities.”