The UK government’s Insolvency Service had to apologise to laid off Carillion staff yesterday after an online notice about redundancy payments just said "Blaah" where a subheading should have been.
The slip was embarrassing for the agency at a time when nearly a thousand workers have lost their jobs so far, and anger is growing over unexplained delays to redundancy payments and statutory notice pay.
Screen grab of the mistakenly published notice
Only the day before, a cross-party group of MPs, who had been contacted by redundant Carillion staff, wrote to the agency’s chief executive complaining that workers still had no information about collecting what they are owed.
Nearly 12,000 people are waiting to learn their fate after Carillion’s shock liquidation on 15 January.
What it should have said: The Insolvency Service’s corrected version
Around 6,660 jobs have been saved as the receiver scrambles to transfer public services contracts held by Carillion, which employed 19,500 in the UK before its collapse.
But as the toll of jobs saved has grown, so has the toll of lay-offs in Carillion’s private sector activities. That toll hit 989 at the start of this week.
The Insolvency Service apologised yesterday for what it explained as a publishing error.
"A draft page with dummy text as a placeholder was inadvertently published and has now been corrected," a spokesperson said. "We apologise for this error."
In a corrected version the agency said it had assembled "a specialist team" to process payments as quickly as possible.
"You should expect receive the information you need to submit your claim within seven days of being made redundant or transferring to a new employer," the agency said.
MPs had urged the agency to give laid off staff the necessary information as "an urgent priority", and to set out the timescales workers can expect.
"We are concerned that there has been no timescale given for when they can expect to receive the required information, and that it may take up to a further 6 weeks before they will then receive the payments," wrote MPs Frank Field and Rachel Reeves, who chair two parliamentary committees probing Carillion’s collapse.
Top image courtesy of Carillion