Wilko execs should face parliamentary committee, union says

The former bosses of Wilko should be brought in front of MPs to explain how the retailer collapsed, the GMB Union has said.

GMB, which represents over 50,000 workers across the UK, has written to Liam Byrne, the newly appointed chair of Parliament’s Business and Trade Select Committee. In the letter, the union requests Byrne to call for a special emergency session of the committee to examine Wilko’s collapse into administration and the role of its top brass in it.

The union noted that Wilko executives paid themselves and shareholders £77 million in dividends over the past decade – a figure that was widely reported when the high street mainstay looked set to shutter.

The letter also calls on the committee to interview members of the company’s founding Wilkinson family, who are yet to speak publicly about the collapse.

Wilko was subsequently sold off by administrators. Poundland took over the leases of up to 71 of Wilko's 400 stores, while The Range acquired Wilko’s brand in a £5 million deal and has announced plans to open five standalone Wilko stores across the UK before Christmas.

Nadine Houghton, national officer at the GMB Union, 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.”

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