Construction and services group Kier has taken on around 200 Carillion employees as it picks up the collapsed company’s share of work on HS2 and Highways England smart motorway projects.

Following Carillion’s compulsory liquidation, its partners in joint ventures across hundreds of contracts are now having to pick the Wolverhampton group’s share of the work. The Government is pumping in money to sustain work on around 450 private sector contracts including work on road and rail schemes, as well as maintaining wages for Carillion staff while the liquidation process goes on.

Carillion employs around 19,500 of its 40,000 workforce in the UK, including 400 people at its headquarters in Wolverhampton who are working with liquidation special managers from accountants PwC as they untangle the hundreds of private and public sector projects and thousands of supplier and sub-contractor agreements.

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Following discussions with the Government and clients, Kier and Eiffage are now 50/50 partners in delivering two of the seven HS2 civil engineering projects. All 51 Carillion staff, including apprentices, have been offered the chance to switch to the other two companies.

Another 150 Carillion workers on smart motorways schemes have also been offered jobs with Kier, which said it had also been talking with the project’s supply chain, “ensuring continuity of skills, resources and suppliers.”

Kier said it had assumed full responsibility for the Highways England smart motorway schemes on which it had been working in joint venture with Carillion. All employees currently working on the schemes have been offered the opportunity to join Kier.

In total around150 employees will be making the transition to Kier in the next week including seven apprentices.

Kier said it had been talking with the existing supply chain on this project “ensuring continuity of skills, resources and suppliers”.

Kier added: “The above contracts are all performing well, operationally and financially.”

Meanwhile, following its takeover of McNicholas in July, Kier has secured £140m of contract extensions, including natural gas distribution in Northern Ireland and Network Rail electrification.

Kier has , in addition, won a £160m Public Health England contract for a 182,000 sq ft bioscience facility in Harlow, with work starting next month.

Haydn Mursell, chief executive of Kier, said: “We have been working collaboratively with our clients and are pleased to have reached agreement with Government concerning these joint ventures. We have been able to take action quickly and reassure the project teams that they continue to play an important role in the delivery of these contracts.

“The McNicholas acquisition is performing well, providing a highly complementary addition to our utilities services business, and the Public Health England award reflects our growing presence in the bioscience market.”

Source: Express and Star