Rover workers warned payout could be months away

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The Independent Online

Former MG Rover workers awaiting a payout from a trust fund set up to help them following the company's collapse four years ago have been warned it could be several months before they receive their money.

Workers were expecting the fund to be handed out following the publication of tomorrow's report into the company's collapse, but trustees of the fund have been told it could take months before any money is distributed to the 6,000-plus workforce.

Professor Carl Chinn, one of the fund's trustees, said he had received a letter from Phoenix Venture Holdings (PVH) informing him that the report would not trigger the immediate disbursement of the fund, but that the process would take time.

Prof Chinn, who has been campaigning on behalf of the workers, said: "I have been fighting publicly for a long time to try to get as much money into the pot for the workers.

"We have had little money so we have been unable to help the workers as we would have liked to have done.

"It still could be months before we receive any money and we do not know how much will be involved.

"It is frustrating and upsetting that this has dragged on for so long and continues to do so.

"A lot of workers were under the impression that once the report was published, the money would be distributed."

MP Richard Burden, whose Birmingham constituency includes the former MG Rover site at Longbridge, said he had received a similar letter from PVH non-executive director Nigel Petrie, stating it could take "several more months" to transfer money into the trust fund.

He said: "My appeal to them is to get on with it as quickly as possible. Their former employees deserve no less."

Once the company's remaining assets and the liabilities are settled, trustees hope to have enough money to give each worker a four-figure payout.

When asked if he thought this was likely, Prof Chinn said: "It all depends what's passed on to us."

One ex-employee, now aged 60, said the former workforce's only concern now was to receive the money they had been promised.

The former car paint sprayer, who worked for MG Rover for 17 years, said: "The only thing that interests the majority of people is the transfer of that money into the trust fund and that money being split up equally to the employees."

The ex-worker, who is no longer in employment, spoke of the devastation the company's closure had on the workforce and confessed that he still missed his job.

"People had been there a long time," he said. "It was a way of life rather than a job.

"I never settled again. I'd go through the motions but I didn't settle."