Pumpkin Patch a “damaged” brand while former staff remain unpaid – union
The union representing former distribution centre staff at collapsed children’s retailer Pumpkin Patch is warning the Catch Group, the brand’s new buyer, that the brand’s reputation will be further damaged as former distribution centre and head office staff are yet to receive their redundancy entitlements after the company went bust last year.
“The sale means former staff at the distribution centre and head office are more determined than ever to secure what’s owed to them,” said FIRST Union General Secretary Robert Reid.
Although retail staff in Australia and New Zealand received redundancy payments, because of the way the company was structured – with the company employing retail staff holding assets and the company employing distribution centre and head office staff holding none – many former staff went without their redundancy entitlements.
“Pumpkin Patch was the darling of the New Zealand business world. The hard work former staff put in saw the company topping customer satisfaction surveys in Australia, opening landmark stores in places like Dubai and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charities in New Zealand. Withholding payments that former staff are entitled to isn’t in the original Pumpkin Patch spirit.”
“ANZ, as the main creditor, has the power to ensure former staff get what they are owed. Every day ANZ withholds the money former staff are entitled to is another day that does damage to the Pumpkin Patch brand,” said Reid.
A “watershed meeting” for creditors is scheduled for Monday March 27. The first watershed meeting was adjourned after the unusual result of creditors failing to agree on a liquidator.