LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The British government needs to allow more time for firms to take on workers whose jobs are threatened by the collapse of outsourcer Carillion, the head of one of Britain's biggest trade unions said on Wednesday.
Infrastructure firm Carillion collapsed on Monday when its banks pulled the plug, leaving the government to step in to guarantee public serviced provided by the company ranging from school meals to roadworks.
However, the government has said it will only pay Carillion workers on private sector contracts for 48 hours after the infrastructure firms collapse and not offer them the same protection as those in the public sector.
The head of Britain's GMB union, who met with business minister Greg Clark on Tuesday, said the government needed to allow more time for the 8,500 workers it estimates are now vulnerable.
"We want those other private sector companies to take on those workers... That takes time," GMB General Secretary Tim Roache told BBC radio.
"What we said to Greg Clark yesterday was we need more time, those companies need more time and we've suggested this taskforce be set up that is led by the government, that includes trade unions representing the workers, that includes businesses."
A spokesman for the business ministry's insolvency service declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)