MPS are under pressure to quiz Wilko bosses following the collapse of the high street chain.
The company went under in early August – leading to the loss of some 12,500 jobs and the closure of its 398 stores.
As revealed by The Mail on Sunday, £77m in dividends was dished out to the owners and shareholders of the retailer in the decade before its collapse. Unions are now demanding a parliamentary inquiry into the demise of the company.
The GMB has written to the House of Commons business and trade select committee to call for an emergency session to hold Wilko bosses to account. The union wants MPs to quiz Lisa Wilkinson, the granddaughter of Wilko’s founder who helped manage the discount retail empire for 20 years.
In a letter to committee chairman Liam Byrne MP, GMB national officer Nadine Houghton said: ‘From ignoring clear warnings about the future, to dishing out millions in payouts for owners and shareholders, Wilko management has failed at every turn.
New owner: The Wilko brand was sold to The Range, which is run by tycoon Chris Dawson, who is dubbed the ‘Del Boy billionaire’
‘The collapse isn’t just a tragedy for its loyal workforce, it will also add to the decline of high streets across the country.
‘Wilko workers deserve answers from the company that crushed their livelihoods.
‘The new select committee chair should call an urgent emergency session on Wilko to demand those answers.’ Administrators have agreed to sell 122 former Wilko sites to B&M and Poundland, with the stores reopening under the name of the new owner. The Wilko brand was sold to The Range, which is run by tycoon Chris Dawson, who is dubbed the ‘Del Boy billionaire’.
The Range yesterday said it will open up to five Wilko shops before Christmas, including in Plymouth, Exeter and Luton.
A spokesman for the business committee said: ‘The chair has been very clear that he is determined to see the committee sustain its work on exposing corporate misdemeanour.’
Wilko remained under family ownership since its formation in Leicester by James Kemsey Wilkinson in 1930.