Press Report : Phoenix Four urged to pay £1m each into MGR Trust Fund

Christina Savvas, Birmingham Mail, 12th September, 2009

Professor Carl Chinn has urged each of the Phoenix Four to pay £1 million to help the 6,500 workers who lost their jobs when the company collapsed.

Professor Chinn, one of four Trustees of the MG Rover Employee’s Trust Fund, is demanding an “immediate” pay-out from John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and Peter Beale, who have been accused of putting their personal gain before the success of the company. He added that the former Chief Executive Kevin Howe should also pay the sum into the trust fund – to which the directors promised they would contribute in order to provide help for workers.

The rallying call comes after a damning report into the company’s collapse was published four years afterwards. Workers expected money from the fund to be handed out following the publication of the report, but trustees have been told it could take months.

Birmingham historian Professor Chinn, who has been campaigning on behalf of the workers, said: “I am publicly calling for each of the four Directors and Kevin Howe to put in £1 million each into the MG Rover Employees’ Trust Fund in lieu of any further payments later on so we can immediately start to help the workers who lost their jobs and their families.

The Directors and Chief Executive won the equivalent of the lottery through their involvement in MG Rover and, by contrast, thousands of men and women lost their livelihoods. We have now been told that the publication of the report will not automatically trigger a disbursement of funds promised to the trust. We want to help the workers so wouldn’t it be a nice gesture if the Directors who have made so many millions put some of that money in the Trust Fund?” Professor Carl Chinn, Trustee, MG Rover Employees’ Trust Fund

“The Directors and Chief Executive won the equivalent of the lottery through their involvement in MG Rover and, by contrast, thousands of men and women lost their livelihoods. We have now been told that the publication of the report will not automatically trigger a disbursement of funds promised to the trust. We want to help the workers so wouldn’t it be a nice gesture if the Directors who have made so many millions put some of that money in the Trust Fund?”

Professor Chinn received a letter from Phoenix Venture Holdings informing him that the report would not trigger the immediate disbursement of the fund, but that the process would take time. So far just £20,000 has been put into the pot and only about £1,000 of that has come from the company’s Directors. Professor Chinn stressed that the fund would not be means tested, but would pay out equal sums to all workers who lost their jobs.

Gemma Cartwright, whose husband Andrew lost his job in the paint shop after 15 years at the company, said: “I totally support what Professor Chinn is saying for the Directors to put some cash in to help the workers. I would also add that we want a meeting with the Directors, we want them to address the workers and explain want happened.”

[Source: Birmingham Mail via Birmingham Post]

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