Belfast Telegraph

MP calls for probe into Nortel jobs

By Symon Ross

A MP has written to the insolvency regulator calling for an investigation into the actions of Nortel’s administrator Ernst & Young (E&Y).

SDLP South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell said he was supporting the 228 employees at Nortel plants in Monkstown in Newtownabbey, Maidenhead and Harlow who were dismissed without notice or redundancy pay in March last year.

The Canadian-owned company went into administration in January 2009, putting Ernst & Young in charge of its operations.

Mr McDonnell said the role played by both the company management and the administrators should be the focus of “the toughest possible scrutiny”. He also said the redundancies at Nortel were contrary to assertions by the administrators that they intended to restructure and strengthen the business, that contracts of employment would remain in place, and that employment law would be honoured.

“Ernst & Young’s handling of this insolvency case has been woeful and it would appear that they may have failed to pay appropriate regard to redundancy and employment legislation,” he said.

“I am certainly very happy to continue to use my parliamentary efforts to support former Nortel employees in any way that I can. After discussion with senior Unite officials, I have now written to the insolvency regulator calling for a comprehensive investigation into the actions of Ernst & Young and I will also be applying for an adjournment debate in Westminster on the Nortel insolvency at the earliest opportunity.”

In response a spokesman for E&Y said: “The Joint Administrators arranged a meeting at Westminster in June 2009 with a number of interested MPs, explaining the legal position.

“Our position continues to be that we acted in accordance with the law and best practice within the confines of a formal insolvency procedure. It is a sensitive |area and we have no issues |with the legislators wishing to |consider whether a change in the law is desirable.”

Belfast Telegraph