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Former Wilko workers are calling for MPs to grill the discount chain’s owners over its collapse.

GMB Union has said it wants major shareholders the Wilkinson family to be “hauled before parliament’s Business & Trade Select Committee to give evidence”.

The union has written to newly elected committee chair Liam Byrne calling for a special emergency session of the committee to demand answers.

Wilko fell into administration in August, leading to the loss of about 12,000 jobs and the closure of all 400 of the chain’s stores.

GMB has highlighted the reported £77m paid in dividends to shareholders during the previous decade.

Read more: First three towns to get a new Wilko store named

Wilko’s collapse also left a £50m deficit in one of the company’s pension funds.

“From ignoring clear warnings about the business’ future, to dishing out millions in payouts for owners and shareholders, Wilko management has failed at every turn,” said GMB national officer Nadine Houghton.

“The collapse of Wilko isn’t just a tragedy for its loyal workforce, it will also add to the decline of high streets across the country.

“Wilko workers deserve answers from the company that crushed their livelihoods.

“The new select committee chair should call an urgent emergency session on Wilko to demand those answers.”

Speaking to the Sunday Times in August, Lisa Wilkinson, granddaughter of Wilko founder James Kemsey Wilkinson and major shareholder of the retail chain, said: “Is there a bit of me lying awake at night saying I wish we’d never taken a penny of dividends out? Well, genuinely, would it have made any difference to where we are today? It might have made us survive a couple of months longer. What we have taken out really wouldn’t have made a difference.”