Former employees of MG Rover were dismayed this week to find out that after all their battles for a suitable redundancy pay out they will each receive just three pounds each. The amount is so small that the so called 'Phoenix Four' have been called upon to make a contribution towards the pot. These four men comprising of John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and Peter Beale were the business men who bought the company for ten million pounds in the year 2000. After buying the company they paid themselves and their Managing Director a total sum of forty two million pounds. It is for this reason that they are being called upon as individuals to consider making a contribution.
Carl Chinn, a trustee of the former employees' fund, said: "I hope they will search their conscience to see if they can find the goodwill to help those who have lost so much. But as they have been ignoring my calls for four or five years, I'm not holding out much hope." The quartet were disqualified from working as directors in Britain for 19 years. A spokesman for them said that they had received the request and that was all they were prepared to say so far. There is not much hope that the four will decide to make a contribution to the fund. Several previous pleas have already been made to them from a variety of sources including the archbishop of York.
When the assets of the Phoenix group which owned MG Rover were liquidated it was hoped that between ten and thirty million would be paid into a trust fund for the redundancies. When Rover collapsed in 2005 comments were made to suggest a fund had been set aside for the former employees of about fifty million pounds. However, it was acknowledged that there still remained creditors to pay. Despite the outstanding creditors, one of the four, Towers said "I'm very confident it [the fund] will have millions of pounds available for those employees." His confidence proved unfounded when after all creditors had been paid off there was only twenty two thousand pounds in the pot. This amount had to be shared between some six and half thousand employees.
Any other money that could have been available is locked into other ongoing or proposed litigation. There remains a further twenty three million pounds from within a company called MG Rover Capital, which if released could mean a windfall of eleven million pounds to the quartet. Their spokesman has declined to say whether or not such a windfall, if received, would be attributed to the pot. So far there doesn't seem to be too much hope for MG Rover's former employees receiving any substantial pay out.