AUSTRALIAN WORKERS are calling for legal action and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) prosecutions after the collapse of automotive parts maker Ion Ltd.
Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) national secretary Bill Shorten told the second meeting of creditors of the Ion group in Adelaide last week that ASIC should act over the failure of Ion, also proposing legal action by workers, shareholders and creditors.
The automotive parts maker went into voluntary administration in December last year, leaving hundreds of workers without jobs. Shorten cited a report by administrators McGrath Nicol, that he said revealed “major failures of financial control at the company, bad decision-making and net selling of shares by company-related parties in the months before the collapse”.
Shorten called for changes to the Corporations Act and Australian Accounting Standards to ensure employees have maximum priority of payment in company failures.
“It is time for ASIC chairman Jeff Lucy and his team of untouchables in the insolvency unit to get cracking on this corporate disaster,” Shorten said.
In his speech to the creditors’ meeting, Shorten asked how the directors of Ion could have been unaware of the company’s problems and continue to make optimistic forecasts about its future. As well, he asked why the company-related parties were selling Ion shares prior to the administration.
Shorten asked how the banks could approve $400 million in unsecured loans to Ion about three months before the collapse.