Tuesday, 31 May 2011

not quite saved

whitcoulls goes into receivership & looks like it might fold. whitcoulls is miraculously saved when a buyer steps in to take over the business. a nz icon is saved.

but at what cost? as usual, it's the employees who are being asked to pay, even though it is not their fault that the business has struggled:

"Whitcoulls workers are being asked to sign away any entitlement to redundancy compensation, notice of termination of employment and any claims or grievances from their previous employer. If the administrator made workers redundant today, it would have to make a lieu-of-notice payment and redundancy payment, up to a cap of $18,600 per person."

Reid said under this agreement, the new owner James Pascoe Group could hire a worker for one week and make them redundant the following week with no redundancy compensation.

"Even at a conservative estimate, the 900 Whitcoulls workers in the sales process could have lieu payments and redundancy entitlements of $5000 each.

"This means that Whitcoulls' workers are being forced to contribute almost half a million dollars of entitlements to the sale....it could well be double that."

see also this press release by the CTU:

Peter Conway, CTU Secretary, said today “the normal procedure is for workers to transfer across with their same terms and conditions including any redundancy entitlements. Instead these workers have had the squeeze put on them over a weekend to sign away their future entitlement to redundancy pay.”

“If they don’t sign the agreement, they will be deemed to have resigned, that’s hardly a choice. This isn’t fair treatment and places these workers in a very vulnerable position.” Said Peter Conway.

mr dave norman talks about certainty of employment with the new contracts, when there actually is none. i'm sure there's nothing in those new contracts that says they don't need redundancy payments because they can never be fired.

and the "staff purchase benefits"? this isn't a grocery store, so those benefits aren't going to put food on the table, nor will they help pay the rent. many of the employees will be on a low wage, and they need the money to live. cheap books won't help with that.

also worth reading is tapu misa, being brilliant as always, this time on the topic of the minimum wage being raised to $15.


Draco TB said...

With e-books rising in popularity I'm not sure why they bothered to "save" the place. A new sales model will replace it and this sort of book store will go the way of the dodo.

As for it being a - meh. Stopped going to Whitcoulls more than 20 years ago due to being too expensive and shit service.

Yes, I have sympathy for the staff. The place should have been closed and they receive their redundancies. After that the creditors, which took all the risk according to capitalist rhetoric, can sniff around to see if there was any money left.

Draco TB said...

PS, the missing words are Kiwi Icon. Must have stuffed up the tags.

Brett Dale said...

Music/Book retail stores are being killed by online sales, Itunes will end up being responsible for bringing down most record stores.

In terms of Books, Amazon is just so cheap.

Perhaps Whitcoulls can redesigned their stores and make them more user friendly. Sucks that workers wont get their redundancies.

Anonymous said...

Did you also notice that 3 Christchurch stores damaged in the earthquake haven't been bought by the James Pascoe group and will therefore be closed down? JPG are seriously cherry-picking to say the least. And given how much they're paying for the business, squeezing the workers in this way is un-necessary, and will only result in poor staff morale and productivity and crappier service - a rather short-term view if you ask me.
But then like Draco, I stopped buying at Whitcoulls years when the rot set in under the previous ownership.