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'Where did they get the Carillion name? They might just as well have called it Lozenge or Muskrat and saved whatever Enterprise IG stung them for'

David Taylor takes a light-hearted look at the industry in the first of a new fortnightly column

CORPORATE restructuring is unsettling for a workforce, however positive the outcome.

So my thoughts are with those hapless drones at Tarmac's contracting wing, about to be split off from the aggregates operation and turfed out of their grace-and-favour Georgian mansion, Hilton Hall, near Wolverhampton.

Of course, chairman Sir Neville Simms is laughing. With his £1.37 million pay-off from Old Tarmac, he's most of the way towards the £2 million asking price for the stately pile, so he can stay put if he likes.

Perhaps few will shed a tear for the displaced workers - they obviously had it easy at Hilton Hall! But surely we feel for them having been cursed with the new name Carillion.

Where did they get the name from, so horribly resonant of the execrable rock group Marillion, whose bizarre lead singer rejoiced in the name of 'Fish'?

Well, I can reveal that it came from a London-based image consultant, formerly known as Sampson Tyrell, and now itself renamed Enterprise IG.

Nobody was available for comment when I called Enterprise last week. But a Carillion spokesperson said: 'I don't think it comes from anywhere,' which is astonishing, in my view. They might just as well have called it Lozenge or Muskrat and saved whatever Enterprise IG stung them for.

The name might have some meaning, though. A company insider thought it might be a corruption of 'carillion', which the Concise Oxford Dictionary gives as a 'set of bells sounded either from keyboard or mechanically; tune played on bells'.

Then again, maybe not.

Standard bearer

Sir Neville is not the only person to recognise the importance of image in today's construction industry. We now have the Egan-inspired Movement for Innovation on the case.

Its latest initiative is to promote more 'Respect for People', which comes with the stern warning that construction's poor reputation on the safety and welfare fronts are keeping the best people out of the industry.

It so happens that we're having some minor alterations done at the Taylor household, so I stepped outside to ask Barry the bricklayer how this latest initiative is being received.

Looking the part in trainers and shorts, and with no protective gear in sight, Barry was trimming Yorkstone slabs with an angle grinder.

Tossing the machine into a handy flower bed, he exhaled a plume of silica dust and declared himself satisfied on the welfare side. I should think so - he's got my downstairs loo to himself and a constant supply of Sainsbury's Red Label and Jammy Dodgers.

But what about safety? 'Well, it's just common sense, really, innit?' he said, scooping up another fistful of Mastercrete in a gnarled hand and chucking it into the mixer.

Cards marked

I get the feeling Barry is not going to have his new tax certificate or registration card sorted out before the Inland Revenue's August deadline. He's in good company.

Subbies up and down the country have apparently ignored the new CIS tax scheme in their thousands. And the Inland Revenue's warning that contractors 'will not be able' to pay subbies who are not sorted out in time seems a pretty hollow threat.

But it's not just workers who are falling behind. The Revenue's own CIS website currently promises to get application forms out to all known subbies... by January 1999.