Wilko bosses must be hauled before Parliament’s Business and Trade Select Committee to give evidence over the firm’s collapse, GMB has said, calling on the new select committee chair to hold Wilko chiefs to account.
The union today (3) wrote to newly elected select committee chair Liam Byrne MP to call for a special emergency session of the committee to hold Wilko chiefs to account.
Discount high street retailer Wilko went bust earlier this year, leaving more than 10,000 workers without a job. Bosses shelled out £77m in dividends to themselves and shareholders during the past decade – and the Wilkinson family have not yet spoken questions about the business’ collapse.
Nadine Houghton, National Officer, said, “From ignoring clear warnings about the business’ future, to dishing out millions in payouts for owners and shareholders, Wilko management has failed at every turn.
“The collapse of Wilko isn’t just a tragedy for its loyal workforce, it will also add to the decline of high streets across the country.
“Wilko workers deserve answers from the company that crushed their livelihoods. The new select committee chair should call an urgent emergency session on Wilko to demand those answers.”
The letter states, “September and October this year over 400 Wilko stores and two distribution centres closed. Tens of thousands of workers, many of them GMB members, lost their jobs.
“The loss of Wilko was devastating for the workforce, but also for communities around the country losing a reliable retailer during a cost of living crisis. But the true tragedy of Wilko is that its decline could have been avoided. The business should have thrived in a bargain retail sector that is otherwise strong and growing. But instead, warnings about its viability were ignored, while millions of pounds were siphoned out of the business in dividends.
“While some Wilko stores were bought, jobs were not protected, meaning that failures to save the business have resulted in the redundancy of thousands of loyal workers across the country. Months later, the Wilko workforce still do not have the answers they need and deserve from management. Lessons must be learned from Wilko, not only to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the future, but also to protect highstreets across the country from further decline,” states the letter.