Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/678/12363
High street job cuts: Jane Norman worker speaks out
Jane Norman, the high street fashion chain, has gone into administration leaving 1,600 people unpaid and jobless. Here a worker tells her story.
On Saturday 25 June I opened my shop as usual. At 11am I received a phone call from the supervisor of another Jane Norman store. She sounded shaken and upset and said: "The bailiffs are in our shop. They're taking everything."
The staff were told to put their keys on the table and were marched to the office to hand over all the money from the safe. The poor girls, many of them very young, were so intimidated they didn't know what to do! I was then instructed to close my store before the bailiffs raided it too.
The chair of Jane Norman, Stuart Bennie, had informed everyone at head office that we had several people interested in buying the business. He had also said we had until the end of the month to pay unpaid rent on several Jane Norman sites.
We now believe he had known for over a month that we were going into administration and continued to tell everyone it was 'business as usual' and to remain positive and upbeat so that shop floor staff would feel motivated and make more money.
Then all the head office staff were called to a meeting. Stuart Bennie told them that we had no buyer and that he was handing over to the administrators.
It was only then that the head office staff realised that the people they had been told to assist over the last month to help the company reduce costs had been appointed as an administrator.
The administrator coldly announced: "We can't afford to pay you so you will be made redundant." It was awful. People broke down in tears. Someone from the back shouted: "So you knew you couldn't pay us and you let us work for free."
We all received this information via text as everyone was too overwhelmed and upset to call. On Tuesday I received a phone call from my area manager. She sounded devastated. She told me how sorry she was but that my store would not be one of the few kept open.
She informed me that I had been made redundant and asked me to hand in my keys to head office at the request of the administrators. I told her they could have my keys when I get my wages!
Even the area managers don't know if they have a job. There are eight of them and they've been informed one will be kept on. This is the administrators' disgusting tactic to get them to do their dirty work for free. I can't believe that in this day and age it is legal to treat people like this.
I worked for the company for eight years. I have friends who have been there for up to 18 years. For it to end this way is absolutely disgraceful!
In The Socialist 6 July 2011:
30th June strike and after
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