No money for the trust fund - Phoenix 4 rule out payment
August 9, 2012
As reported in today's Birmingham Post, it has now been confirmed that the MG Rover Trust Fund is to be wound up, with no money made available for the ex-workers:http://www.birminghampost.net/news/2012/08/09/mg-rover-trust-fund-finally-to-be-wound-up-without-workers-receiving-a-penny-65233-31578855/
It is a sad end to a long saga. At the time of closure 6,500 workers lost their jobs with no company redundancy pay.
In this BBC interview John Towers CBE discusses the Trust Fund at the time of the MG Rover collapse in 2005 (it's approximately 3 minutes 40 seconds into the clip - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG78PtEaqQ)
For those who don't want to watch the video the interview is as follows.... question: ‘‘‘..they’re (the ex-workers) walking away with nothing, you're walking away with a fortune?'', answer: ''We're trying to place a fortune into a benefit for all of the employees and their families and dependants. We've launched today an employee trust which Carl Chinn, Nigel Petrie and the Bishop from Birmingham have agreed to be trustees for. That's got gross assets in excess of £50million. Cleary there are creditors, all though only a few, and also perhaps people from MG Rover Groups creditors who will try to attack that, those assets, but I am very confident that there will be millions of pounds available for those employees to help them with that difficult period. ''
After buying MG Rover from BMW for £10 in 2000, the ''Phoenix Four plus One'' as they're known, went on to make over £42million in remuneration, despite continued concerns from the then Department of Trade and Industry. This remuneration was highly criticised in the £16million Government Enquiry published 2009, where the only trust fund mentioned was their own offshore one in Guernsey to which they would transfer over £10million for their own pensions.
Now, 7 years after closure, it is confirmed by Phoenix that:
(i) all of the legal avenues perused by Phoenix have not be fruitful and basically, there is no money left from the assets for the trust fund.
(ii) the ex Phoenix directors have refused the request to make a personal donation from their fortunes to the trust fund, despite hundreds of people supporting this campaign for them to do so and public calls from the likes of Carl Chinn and Richard Burden MP.
(iii) The ex-directors stand to profit even further, sharing the bounty that is held in MG Rover Capital (yet to be wound up) which is holding up-to £20million in cash. (Should this money be available them, the request was made by Carl/Eric and myself to transfer this money ‘fresh money’ to the trust fund, the Phoenix directors this refused too).
Upon the creation of the Trust Fund in 2005 approximately £23,000 was allocated for the future administration costs of the distribution of the promised millions. It is now to be decided what to do with this money.
For the social networkers among us, there is an online facebook group (search for Justice for Rover Workers) and here some ex workers expressed an interest for the money to go to a local charity. Carl and Eric and I would welcome all suggestions, please feel free to join the facebook group and add to the ongoing debate, or send an email to email@example.com with your thoughts. I will publish all in the comments and questions tab and pass them all on to Carl/Eric.