An angry showdown between MG Rover campaigners fighting for Trust Fund payouts and the much criticised Phoenix Four is set to come to the boil next month.
Members of the Justice for Rover Workers Group are set to hold a key meeting on March 3 in a bid to force the Phoenix Four out into the open over the long delayed payouts.
Campaigners have accused the former directors at MG Rover – John Towers, Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards – of stalling over payments potentially worth up to £2,500 per worker.
Trust Fund trustee and Phoenix Venture Holdings non-executive director Nigel Petrie is expected to attend the March meeting to hear the ex-workers’ concerns over the continuing stalemate.
The meeting will be held against a background of mounting anger after former workers claimed “insulting” letters telling them they owe money over the collapse of the car factory nearly six years ago had “stirred up emotions” once again.
The Justice for Rover Workers, an online campaign fighting for payments promised in April 2005, hit out over the letters from administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers. Some workers have received letters from PwC telling them they had been overpaid on dividend sums. Former Longbridge worker Kevin Whitehouse, of Rubery, was told he owes £6.40, while other workers have received cheques for as little as 50 pence.
But Oliver Thomas, co-ordinator of the Justice For Rover Workers, said: “This has again stirred up emotions around the issue of the trust fund. Nearly six years on we’re still waiting for the Phoenix directors to keep their promise. We’re looking forward to the follow-up meeting in March where they will confirm or not, if any money is going to go into the trust fund.
“At the last meeting we asked Phoenix for details on the claim with HBOS in order for us to actually help them; initially the Phoenix team were quick to blame HBOS as another reason for lack of payment but months on they have provided us with nothing.
‘‘They have stalled and dragged the matter out hoping it will go away.”
But a spokesman for Phoenix Venture Holdings said: “The directors categorically deny that they have stalled over this – the opposite is true. Their efforts have been dedicated to trying to ensure that there is money available to be distributed to the Employee Trust Fund.”
The payouts from the Trust Fund have been delayed following a £23 million claim by HBOS for work undertaken with MG Rover.