The broken Carillion business model is the best argument there is against the outsourcing of Ministry of Defence firefighters, Unite, the country’s largest union, said tonight (Tuesday 6 March).

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail told an ‘All public sector workers deserve a pay rise’ rally in the House Commons that there should be an immediate end to the outsourcing of vital public services in the wake of the Carillion collapse.

She pinpointed particular concern about the Defence Fire and Rescue Services (DFRS) which provide cover on MoD sites and where the outsourcing bidding process involving the firefighters has been extended until May.

Gail Cartmail called on the rally to send a message of support to MoD firefighters facing the dire prospect of post-Carillion outsourcing and to support Unite’s demand for an end to such outsourcing.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “We know that these last eight years of austerity have been crushing. The ideological pay cap has meant you have all faced a shocking cut in income in real terms of about a fifth of your pay – 20 per cent.

“There is something fundamentally wrong about how government is allowed to duck genuine collective bargaining and force public servants to play off pay against jobs and services. It stinks, it is wrong and our members deserve better.

“A pay rise must be fully funded or lifting the cap is meaningless. And all public sector workers have faced the pay cap and all must now have a fair and dignified pay rise.”

Turning to the fall-out from Carillion’s collapse, Gail Cartmail said: “This appalling debacle has left thousands jobless, vital construction projects mothballed and 30,000 organisations in the supply chain high and dry – we say Carillion’s business model is broken and we are not out the woods yet by a long chalk.

“Carillion’s business model is like Humpty Dumpty; broken into pieces and all the efforts by right-wing ideologues to put that model together again will result in failure.

“So why should hardworking and dedicated firefighters be subjected to such a fractured and flawed privatisation process and all the concerns that this poses for national security at military bases?”

Gail Cartmail again reiterated the need for full public inquiry into the Carillion debacle which she branded as “this most dreadful example of corporate greed, negligence by auditors and government inaction of recent times.”


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065. Email:

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.