5 years on: Phoenix 4 must do the right thing by former Rover workers


This week is the 5th year anniversary of the closure of MG Rover. I am calling on the Phoenix Directors to finally end the delay on the trust fund and do the right thing by their former employees.

Will you join me in calling for an end to the delay?

After the company collapsed in April 2005, the Phoenix Directors promised to put the money raised from the remaining assets of Phoenix Venture Holdings into a trust fund for former workers. However, this money has yet to appear.

Former Rover workers have been waiting far too long to see the money they were promised from the trust fund. The issue here isn’t just about the cash – it’s about doing the right thing. A commitment was made. It should be honoured.

I have been calling on the Phoenix Directors to put the money they promised into the trust fund for over four years now. I have raised the issue in the House of Commons, with government ministers and directly with the Phoenix Directors.

When the independent inquiry into the collapse of MG Rover reported in September 2009 I repeated my appeal to them to get this sorted as soon as possible – but Rover workers are still left waiting.

This week I have written to the Phoenix Director John Towers to call on the Directors to finally end the delay on the trust fund and do the right thing by their former employees.

In my letter to John Towers, I said:

“I do not remember your qualifying the assurances you gave to your employees at the time. As far as your former employees are concerned, the company told them it would look after them in the event of MGR going under – but five years on they still haven’t seen a penny from the Trust Fund. As many former employees see it, the Phoenix directors are already benefiting from the generous financial arrangements which you put in place for yourselves and will continue to do so in the future. It is a big contrast.

“Most former employees are realistic enough to understand that they will not receive a fortune from the Trust Fund. Rather, they see it as unfinished business; as a commitment that was made to them and which should be honoured. I agree with them about that.

“So, as the fifth anniversary of the closure approaches, I am writing to you to ask you to end the delay… [and] do the right thing by your former employees.”

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.