Chain’s former owners ‘played monopoly with workers’ lives’
GREEDY Sir Philip and Lady Green have “played a game of corporate monopoly” with workers’ lives, Usdaw leader John Hannett said yesterday as the billionaire former BHS bosses were lined up to parade on a catwalk of the country’s most cash-cushioned couples.
The pair are ranked fifth in an forthcoming index of Britain’s wealthiest couples, with their riches put at £2.787 billion, though this is a fall of £433 million on last year’s estimate.
MPs have called for Monaco-based mogul Mr Green to be de-gonged since the collapse — with the loss of 11,000 jobs — of his former department store business last year.
Mr Green was named in Jeremy Corbyn’s first speech of the election campaign as someone who should “be worried about a Labour government.”
The Greens had flogged off the chain for a paltry pound the previous year.
A parliamentary inquiry into the BHS failure accused them and other former owners of “systematic plunder” of the company.
After the BHS pensions fund ran into deep trouble, the Pensions Regulator started legal action against Mr Green, who agreed to hand over £363m in cash to settle the dispute.
The Greens’ Arcadia group, which owns Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, has — like BHS — always been in Tina’s name.
At the shopworkers’ union’s annual conference in Blackpool last night, Mr Hannett told the Star: “The hard-working and loyal former BHS staff will find the rich list difficult reading.
“Last year they lost their jobs, through no fault of their own, when people at the top of the business played a game of corporate monopoly with their lives.”
And he called for tougher regulations. “There needs to be much greater controls on corporate governance, better protection for workers in redundancy situations and a requirement on administrators to do everything possible to keep a business afloat and save jobs,” he said.
The husband-and-wives rich list, part of the 2017 Sunday Times rich list published next weekend, says Britain’s wealthiest couple are the pharmaceutical magnates Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, whose wealth is put at £11.5bn.
Heineken heir Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and husband Michel de Carvalho are in second place with £9.3bn.