NEWS COMMENT: Carillion mess is as complex as negotiations for Brexit

Just when Queen Alexandra Hospital is under the utmost pressure and staff are needed to be working at full-tilt, many have been hit by a massive blow to job security.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 10:37 am
Picture: Ian Hargreaves

The collapse of construction and public services contract giant Carillion has put a question mark over the futures of around 800 members of staff employed by them at QA.

The shockwaves are now reverberating through the homes of around 20,000 Carillion employees nationwide.

Carillion staff at QA cover a range of facilities management services from cleaning to pest control and parking.

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While they are not on the front line of health services they are vital to the operation of the hospital in myriad ways.

What’s more, the fate of Queen Alexandra Hospital is inextricably linked with Carillion under a private finance initiative.

The company built the hospital in part-exchange for a 35-year concession to provide their services.

Unravelling that in the wake of Carillion’s collapse sounds akin to the complexity of the UK’s Brexit negotiations.

Staff are being told to carry on working as normal, and the government is now under pressure to ensure it picks up the bill to maintain Carillion’s work in the public sector.

But in the long term there are plenty of question marks over its uncompleted projects, as well as jobs and pensions.

Unions have their work cut out to reassure staff, and to bargain on their behalf to ensure they remain in employment.

The repercussions of the Carillion collapse are enormous, and are bound to reignite debate over the involvement of private companies in the public sector.

Affected staff at QA can only keep calm and carry on.

It is now up to the government to sort out the mess in the public sector left by private enterprise.