The union representing Wilko workers is calling for Lisa Wilkinson, granddaughter of the founder of the chain, to answer questions in parliament about a £53m hole in the collapsed retailer’s pension pot.
Nadine Houghton, national officer of the GMB Union, urged the business and trade committee to call on Wilkinson, who took the reins in 2014, to give evidence, as more than 12,000 job roles face extinction.
“She must explain why there is a £56m hole in the pension pot and what she will do to plug it, given that she and her family extracted £77m during the past ten years,” she said.
Wilko received almost £100m in dividends in the 10 years leading up to its collapse.
Earlier this year it emerged that the family paid out a total of £77m to themselves and former shareholders of the retail chain in the decade leading up to its collapse.
Even as losses plunged to more than £35m last year, a £3m dividend was paid, according to an initial report in This is Money.
Lisa Wilkinson defended the payout, previously telling The Times, that the board had “checked… there was sufficient cash.
“We went through the right governance, the auditors checked it off,” she said, adding that what the family had taken out “really wouldn’t have made a difference.”
Wilko collapsed earlier this month, placing 12,500 jobs at risk.
Rival discount chains such as B&M and Poundland snapped up 122 stores between them, with plans to convert them into their respective stores.
The Range also bought the brand and intellectual property of Wilko, meaning it can sell the store’s products online.
City A.M. has contacted the Department of Business and Trade and PwC for a comment.