LONDON: Irresponsible company bosses who “line their own pockets” will face huge fines in the future, British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed on Sunday.
May said she would outline plans in the coming weeks to crack down on “abuse” of the system by business chiefs, following the collapse of outsourcing firm Carillion last week.
The proposals include giving the pensions regulator powers to issue punitive fines on company directors in cases of clear wrongdoing, according to The Observer.
Writing in the Sunday newspaper, May said “tough new rules” will be introduced to tackle the behaviour of “executives who try to line their own pockets by putting their workers’ pensions at risk — an unacceptable abuse that we will end”.
She added: “Too often we’ve seen top executives reaping big bonuses for recklessly putting short-term profit ahead of long-term success.
“Our best businesses know that is not a responsible way to run a business and those who do so will be forced to explain themselves.”
Carillion has public sector and private partnership contracts worth £1.7 billion ($2.35 billion, 1.9 billion euros), including cleaning and catering at public hospitals, various construction works and maintaining 50,000 army base homes for the Ministry of Defence.
The government has said the company’s 19,500 staff in public sector jobs will continue to be paid, at a potential cost to the taxpayer of hundreds of millions of pounds.
Carillion has been roundly criticised for its executives’ remunerations.
“A free society — and a free market — only works when everyone plays by the same rules,” May wrote.
“The state can and should help to rebalance the system in favour of ordinary working people.
“By this time next year, all listed companies will have to reveal the pay ratio between bosses and workers.
“Companies will also have to explain how they take into account their employees’ interests at board level, giving unscrupulous employers nowhere to hide.”