'Don't concentrate on the circus following Philip Green around', says retail union officer

'Don't concentrate on the circus that's following Philip Green around', says retail union officer

Philip Green sold BHS for just £1 in 2015

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sir Philip Green apologised for the BHS collapse at the committee hearing today, but union officer David Gill says we need to "concentrate on safeguarding jobs".

The work and pensions and business select committees are putting questions to the former owner of BHS, as 11,000 jobs are at risk and there is a pension deficit.

He sold the business in 2015 for just £1 to former racing driver Dominic Chappell. Green had previously threatened not to attend the hearing unless MP Frank Field resigned.

Gill, the Usdaw union's national officer, says his apology is not enough.

"I think him saying sorry is a move in the right direction, but it's not going to help," he told Julia Hartley-Brewer. "Did he openly know that when he sold the company for £1 that it was going to happen?

"I think when you've worked with a business for 14 years, and from his point of view he wants it to move to another level, you then don't sell it for £1 to someone who's got no retail experience whatsoever.

"It seems he's just taking a vast amount of money out of the business without putting anything back in there."

His main worry is for the staff at BHS, as they don't know whether they will soon be unemployed.

"It will all be about Philip Green, what he said, what he's come over with, but on the back of that all the time we've got 11,000 people thinking 'have I got a job?'

"Are some of [the stores] going to be bought, are none of them going to be bought, are they going to go in to liquidation?

"These are the main things they want to know about, not the circus that's following Philip Green around. It's about time we spent more time concentrating on where are we up to with someone coming in to buy any of these stores."

Gill believes there also need to be measures in place so this type of situation can't happen again.

"We [need to] come out with answers as to why this has happened, and how we can fix it in the future. Hopefully we'll safeguard some of the 11,000 employees."