Dick Smith leaves employees in the dark over store closures

by Victoria Bruce30 Mar 2016
Failed retail giant Dick Smith is keeping thousands of employees in limbo by not announcing exact dates for store closures, which staff say is preventing them from moving on to new careers.

A spokesperson for Dick Smith’s receivers Ferrier Hodgson said employees would receive redundancy notices and final work dates closer to closure date, CRN reported.

But if employees opt to resign before they receive their redundancy notice, they could forfeit their entitlement to a redundancy payout.

The spokesperson told CRN that individual store closures were dependent on the sale of remaining stock, and not all stores would close on the same day.

Dick Smith employees say they’ve been left in the dark and are unable to move on to new careers.

Employees are taking matters into their own hands by posting signs around store premises telling customers they didn’t know when Dick Smith stores would close, and even asking customers to recommend new jobs that they could go to after the store closures.

A Dick Smith employee told Fairfax it was difficult to look for new work because management still hadn’t specified when stores would close.

"The problem is because we haven't received our notice of redundancy, and without a notice of redundancy you basically void your entitlements [if you leave]," the employee told Fairfax.

"I would only take a new job if they were willing to wait until Dick Smith closes, because I'm not missing out on potentially thousands of dollars of redundancy."

He said Dick Smith was required to give employees four weeks’ notice if they were made redundant, however workers at Dick Smith’s Move airport stores and Electronics Powered by Dick Smith stores were informed just days before their stores were closed.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has announced an investigation into Dick Smith’s collapse for issues of administered trust and confidence.

Ferrier Hodgson said employees would receive redundancy notices and final work dates "closer to the closure date of their store".
The spokesperson for Ferrier Hodgson also said it was expected the current stock sale would generate enough cash to pay all workers their entitlements.
"Employee entitlements are priority claims that rank ahead of the secured and unsecured creditors and are expected to be paid in full," the spokesperson told Fairfax.

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