Jeremy Corbyn says bosses at collapsed construction firm Carillion should pay back bonuses they have earned to prevent smaller firms from going bust.
The Labour leader said senior managers at the company, which employs 20,000 across the UK, should not be paid salaries because they had run the business in such a way as to put jobs at risk.
He told broadcasters on Tuesday evening: “The bonuses should come back.
“When there are people who are sub-contractors or small firms that are contracted into Carillion that are not getting paid, workers being made redundant at 48 hours’ notice, and less in some cases, the directors, for all the bonuses they have had, should pay them back.”
The Wolverhampton-based firm, which had a variety of government contracts, was put into compulsory liquidation on Monday, in what Corbyn claimed should be a “watershed moment” to end “rip off privatisation”.
Its demise sparked fears hundreds of smaller firms could face ruin as part of a knock-on effect.
Corbyn added: “So many of our public services are at risk - school meals services, hospital cleaning services, maintenance contracts, army housing, are all at risk because of the way this company has been run.”
Theresa May has ruled out a taxpayer-funded bailout of the failed company, which had racked up billions in debt.
Treasury minister Liz Truss told the Commons on Tuesday “it would be completely wrong for a public company that got itself in this state to be bailed out by the state”.
Her statement came as HuffPost UK revealed staff at Carillion were warned in an internal memo not to speak to the media and to keep their concerns about their future quiet.
Rehana Azam, national secretary of the GMB trade union, said: “It’s outrageous that Carillion bosses have the sheer nerve to order workers to stay silent as the company collapses into crisis and jobs are put on the line.
“If this shell of a company had a shred of decency and respect for its workforce it would immediately cease these efforts to spook them into keeping quiet. Carillion workers’ voices need to be heard.”
A Carillion spokesperson declined to comment.