Phoenix Four should put up and let former workers move on


It is now more than seven years since the Phoenix Four made their promise to set up a trust fund for former MG Rover workers, when the company closed in 2005.

After seven years of waiting, former workers are now being told they will receive just £3 each. That is nothing more than an insult to the people who did everything that was asked of them by the Phoenix Four and ended up losing everything.

The Phoenix Four may have lost their reputations when MG Rover closed but they still managed to do very well out of the company financially.

All this stuff about the case at the High Court is a smokescreen. The Phoenix Four could each put £1 million each into the Trust Fund for employees. They’re just not doing so.

Their dispute with HBOS is a commercial one. It does not change the promise the Phoenix Four made to their employees. They are wrong to make their former employees accept all the risk of the outcome of this dispute. They should agree to shoulder some of that risk themselves.

The Phoenix Directors should personally put £1 million each into the Trust Fund for their former workers. There are thousands of them so £4 or £5 million split between them won’t change their lives. But it would help them, and the local community, to draw a line under the closure and move on.

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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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