Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Private equity worse than the mafia

Never let it be said that the trade union movement is shy about ramping up its rhetoric. Yesterday was the private equity debate at Congress in Brighton, and Jack Dromey of Unite got stuck in with some colourful language about the buyout business:

"Private equity makes the Cosa Nostra look like a model of openness and transparency by comparison. "They take our members' jobs, they pile our companies with debt, they fleece all of us by not paying their fair share of tax and then expect us to be grateful. "All the evidence we have seen is that jobs, pay, terms and conditions and pensions are put at risk when these companies come in," he continued.

Congress also backe the following action plan:

Congress calls on the General Council to:

i) continue to support affiliates' campaigns exposing the failings of private equity;

ii) maintain pressure on the UK Government to ensure that PE partners are subject to a fair and progressive tax arrangement;

iii) campaign for the strengthening of information and consultation rights where companies are taken over by private equity, plus the extension of TUPE to cover circumstances where a change in ownership arises through share purchase;

iv) ensure a review of the impact on pensions in terms of transparency of information provided by the PE industry so trustees have sufficient powers to call in the Pensions Regulator when PE firms are planning to invest in their company; and

v) establish a database to monitor the activities of private equity funds in the UK and overseas.

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