Workers Fired Because They Asked For Fairness: Boss Pockets Money – Coward Goes into Hiding

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This morning we were supposed to be in Mediation with James Delmont, the boss of Dollar Dealers – the Auckland pawn shop chain. But he’s a no-show. Apparently, he’s made other plans. 

Delmont has managed to worm his way out of fronting for sacking two workers during the first COVID 19 lockdown. The Mediation Service told us at 4pm yesterday they no longer had a mediator available in Auckland. They offered a zoom conference call instead, with a mediator from Christchurch. Delmont quickly latched onto this opportunity, insisting it had to be face-to-face or nothing. Pathetically, the Mediation Service offered him a time seven weeks from now.

When I got back to my office and was told this, I went off my head. Delmont sacked two workers, without notice, pretending it was a redundancy issue. He then pocketed their wage subsidy. This was 20 weeks ago in May. These workers have been waiting since then to have Delmont attend a mediation and explain his actions. However, Auckland’s Mediation Service are so disorganised they blithely decided these workers could wait another 7 weeks. That would mean the workers would have to wait 6 months just to get to the first step. I have another case where the bosses are taking a worker to mediation. They got a date within two weeks. Disgraceful. I wasn’t having any of this crap. After a very ‘assertive’ discussion with the Mediation office, they managed to find a mediator after all. 

Although the whole process, since we were advised there was no mediator to then finding one, took less than two hours, Delmont said he had made other plans that couldn’t be changed. Really? Maybe he had a hair appointment that had opened up.

However, he did find the time to try and contact one of the workers from his cell phone. He was advised from the start he wasn’t permitted to contact a former employee once the legal process commenced. In the criminal courts it’s a crime to contact witnesses. It’s called intimidation. Of course he didn’t respond to me when I asked him to explain himself. Some people like Delmont believe rules and good behaviour don’t apply to them.  

I met the two workers last night for our prearranged meeting and advised them the mediation was off. They were obviously very upset. One hasn’t been able to find work during the COVID 19 pandemic, and the other had taken a day off from work to attend the Mediation and wouldn’t be able to work today. Just the cost of getting to my office is a burden. Delmont and his ilk who abuse others are oblivious to this reality for working class people these days, and if they did know – they wouldn’t give a toss. 

After debriefing with the two workers, I realised the case against Delmont and Dollar Dealers is even worse than I thought. When we first raised the dismissals in May, some unnamed “HR” person sent an extensive, elaborate redundancy process they claimed they had used. Last night the workers tell me nothing of the sort happened. They were the only two employees the company had spoken to about potential redundancies. Originally, Dollar Dealers said they would pay them the COVID wage subsidy. This was our tax money, which we gave to bosses so jobs could be protected. But Delmont told them at their termination meeting that he had changed his mind and he “would keep the money because he could.” They got just four days’ pay in lieu of notice and walked off the job immediately.

Right from the start, I wondered why these two women were targeted. Last night it became clear. When the lockdown started Dollar Dealers announced all employees would have to use their accrued holiday leave. Both these women had challenged management’s right to do this without consultation. Shortly after they were told they were being made “redundant”. 

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When my union got involved it became apparent Delmont had concocted an elaborate fabrication that it was a legitimate redundancy due to COVID 19. I never believed it, because no business with 69 employees would go through an entire redundancy process just to make two workers redundant. Especially as their normal monthly staff turnover is three. Advertising vacancies on SEEK within a month gives the game away.

The women say since my previous Daily Blog article they have received dozens of stories from current and former employees on the outright dishonesty and corrupt practices carried out by this company. I have asked they send this information to me for future publication. 

In summary though, it works like this. Desperate people come in with family jewellery and other expensive heirlooms to use as collateral for short term loans. They get the loan for a fraction of what the items are worth. After deducting an ‘administration fee’ they get charged 35% interest. Many can’t meet the payment schedule and their goods are forfeited. They can be then resold for up to ten times the loan made to the former owner. In the US, they used to call these people the Mafia. It’s legal here. 

Skimming through social media pages show the extended Delmont family are clearly part of the ‘rich and famous’ lifestyle crowd. It seems their beautiful lives and privileges have been largely possible through the misfortunes of the poor. I note all the Dollar Dealer stores are in working class areas, whilst members of the extended Delmont family live in palatial mansions in the leafy suburbs.

When you absorb what types of people would run a business model like that, it’s easy to see why Delmont would have no problem sacking two employees and then pretend otherwise.

As you’d expect under the COVID 19 climate, business is booming for loan sharks. Dollar Dealers is soon to open up a new store in Hamilton. Our UTU bus should be up and running by then. We are looking forward to attending the launch party to expose their practices to the good people of Hamilton.

I was always prepared to reach a fair outcome for these workers. Clearly it’s not in Delmont’s character to consider that. I presume that’s because his whole life is about taking advantage of other people, so why would he stop now. 

I’ve written to him this morning (attaching this article) and amended our claim for the two workers. We will claim compensation for their normal wages from the time they were sacked (that’s $16,000 each in lost wages for the last 20 weeks) and I will add their normal weekly wage $800 a week until this matter is settled. For the stress and fear he has caused these two women he’s going to have to do the right thing and compensate them for $10,000. I’m adding the 3% monthly interest, he charges his clients. Workers should never have to pay to get justice from an unscrupulous boss, so he’ll get our invoice too.

If you have any information on James Delmont or Dollar Dealers, or would like to help, contact us at justice@oneunion.org.nz

We have our campaign bus ready for action to support a campaign to end exploitation. We are looking forward to visiting Hamilton for Dollar Dealers’ opening of their new store. We would appreciate any koha to get on the road. Click here. 

 

In solidarity / Nga mihi

 

Matt McCarten is the National Director of One Union and a Trustee of UTU For The People.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. What an absolute piece of shit. I hope you burn him to the ground, Matt. People are doing the hard yards with Covid as it is, and arseholes like this pompous, venal shit feel compelled to make things so much worse because they just don’t give a toss. I’ve given you some koha for the fighting fund. Keep at it and best of luck!

  2. Matt this is truly disgusting and bullying behaviour by the employer. I have been following this and I hope you don’t mind but I discussed this story with my lawyer friend who has just started work at his new law firm and he approached a senior lawyer who is mentoring him and the senior lawyer said you should be going the employer for $15K – $20K compensation for unlawful dismissal through a fake redundancy…..the term he used was sham redundancy.

  3. So? @ Matt Marten? You wouldn’t be interested in having 52 thousand people who derive their sole income from agrarian enterprises joining forces with you guys would you?
    You may have heard of them. They’re loosely described as ‘farmers’. They grow food. They’re our primary industry. Imagine the power of a united farmer/city worker coalition. Or Union, if you prefer?
    All I have to do is convince them. Easy.
    The reason I ask is because sheep farmers get less than a dollar a kg for cross bred wool and I just bought a 200 gram jersey on sale for $200.00
    And here’s a funny little factoid. Nothing really.
    Back in the day our Natzo politicians threw our farmers into competition with Australia’s agricultural sector for the very,very,very lucrative northern hemisphere markets. Particularly the UK and EU markets.
    AO/NZ grew at an alarming speed which gave us a third highest standard of living and a $500 million dollar trading surplus at around the time of Jack Marshall’s National Party government.
    Then in came The Pig who fucked that for us all and made our many millionaires and our one or two billionaires. Ironically, most of them live in Australia.
    CER with Australia meant massive profits for the likes of watties, fisher and paykel etc and sundry other farmer money exploiters while our farmers got thrown under a very large, hot, sandy bus covered in mutant bouncing rats and now all we can do is export cow milk to China much to chagrin of Woke, Green Auckland latte sipper hypocrites.
    I’m serious. Sometimes, the greatest things have the strangest beginnings.
    Re delmont. He’s a child of his time. Of greed laundered within a void where his humanity and his conscience used to be.
    When roger douglas flipped the switch on the green light to go for greed, delmont and his inhuman kind are the bi product.
    Excellent Post @ MM. Give em Hell.

  4. “However, Auckland’s Mediation Service are so disorganised they blithely decided these workers could wait another 7 weeks.”
    No surprises there @ Matt. It’s part of the Ministry for Everything – the place where even some of its own policy people know the place is a complete bugger’s muddle and the vanity project of Messrss S. Choice and J. Coleman ( Ltd.)
    It’s ONE of the reasons I can no longer Party & Electorate vote Labour after a lifetime. Though watching the Greens behaviour lately, the choice of alternatives is becoming harder by the day.
    MBIE needs dismantling and the fact that Labour can’t yet see it, and seem to prefer keeping it as is (probably for reasons of convenience) says more about their sincerity and commitment to getting things done than it does about “keeping moving” – which could just as easily be a slogan for a laxative as things stand.
    MBIE “blithely decide” a lot of things without thinking them through. It seems to be a place where the shit rises to the top and the decent receive its trickle down offal to chew on, and one where its generic masters of the universe are well-trained in the art of Yes Ministering.
    An example of everything a government administrative and enforcement agency should not be.
    But … “I tell ya wot”, I guess the politicians are going to have to obtain their learnings going forward the hard way. So be it. No one ever said a prerequisite for being a politician was that they had to be a good judge of character. If it remains, I predict there’ll be one or two more Iain Lees-Galloways, and quite possibly a Casson or two.
    Meanwhile, I’m holding my breath and electorate voting Grunt Robertson is safe, and Party might just have to Maori in preference to Green.
    They’ve got 3 weeks and I think. among the people I know, there’s a couple of doz votes in it

    And IF and WHEN Labour do chance it (as I hope they will), JA will do a bit of a Wall Street shuffle to get rid of the non-performing dross (very ‘nice people’ that they are) – unless of course – like I L-G, they manage to get rid of themselves

  5. By the way, as a loyal Labourite (past tense), I never thought I’d see the day when (a) person (b) people who could reasonably be expected to be under the aegis of the “lil ‘ole Nuzull that punches above its weight’s ‘ State apparatus would need to have to seek asylum elsewhere.
    They have and they did (thankfully). ALL down to not just the under-resourcing of this innovative monstrosity that builds bullshit careers, topples Munsters, enables snow flake up and coming underlings (with, if they’d had half a brain, they’d have realised sucking the dick of a Minister was not really a good career move) ……. not just that ……… nor the various failings (a matter of extensive record), but asylum granted (from what I can see from documentation so far), what should have been BLEEDING BLOODY OBVIOUS.

  6. Thanks people. I read the comments each day. The more readers can share to more people the stronger we become. These two workers are rapt at the support from workers at Dollar Dealers after this article was shared far and wide.
    Youngsuffajet – $20k is about right. But add $15k lost wages and growing to the $10k is about right. I am reviewing over weekend and we may up it.
    Countryboy – brother, a broad activist community across the country mobilised will any real change come about. Politicians are important but they change laws once a battle is won. Kia Kaha.

  7. This type of behaviour is supported by Collins and National. Business before people and what is so very wrong about having ultimate power in one parties hand. Collins has already stated that she would be happy at having Matariki as a public holiday but only if it replaces Labour day. Labour day which celebrates workers rights. That tells us all we need to know about Collins and National.
    These scum business owners need to be named and shamed in public media.

  8. THESE are the sorts of things that should have been making headline news. But during the rockstar economy of the Key years, journo’s looked the other way as Key progressively shat all over unions and by association, social justice.. Some brave souls didn’t, but most did. Buoyed by fanatical far right wingers like Mike Hosking, the dishonesty was just left to fester. This is a new era, and I think unions will be becoming more prominent. In fact they NEED to be. As a consequence, more and more of these types will come to the surface. Sterling effort by Unite union, Matt.

  9. Government is too slow and needs to bring in compulsory redundancy payments for all workers in NZ .

    It would hopefully reduce the court action/mediation from bad employers who use redundancy willy nilly and to remove staff rights, and will also mean that NZ employers are so not keen to sack people every 5 minutes because it costs them nothing while rehiring a few weeks later, and preserve jobs and stability for workers instead.

    Compulsory redundancy would also help honesty and innovation as it seems that better employees in NZ are made redundant due growing management crooks like Joanne Harrison, wiping out the honest employees. https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/331250/whistleblowers-tell-of-incredible-day-their-jobs-were-axed

    Why being made redundant in NZ is so tough
    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/in-depth/365540/why-being-made-redundant-in-nz-is-so-tough

    Advertise with Stuff
    Smiths City advertises for new staff days after making 115 redundant
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/121625411/smiths-city-advertises-for-new-staff-days-after-making-115-redundant

  10. SkyCity Redundancies: Union Leader Loses Job
    https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO2004/S00040/skycity-redundancies-union-leader-loses-job.htm

    Coronavirus: Air New Zealand proposes to make 387 pilots redundant, union says
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/120863685/coronavirus-air-new-zealand-begins-pilot-redundancies

    Workers ‘devastated’ about Warehouse restructure – union
    https://www.odt.co.nz/business/workers-devastated-about-warehouse-restructure-union

    Note most of these companies seem poorly run by management, always there for taxpayer handouts while at the first opportunity make workers redundant to save money and keep their management bonuses.

  11. Maybe the next government could increase the number of Labour Inspectors again because 200 or so isnt enough?
    Also, delegate a decent union with the same powers as Labour Inspectors?

  12. Current employment law in NZ is nowhere near robust enough in my opinion.

    Of course its down to govt to legislate but given the current mobs reluctance to enact change and the Nats pro employer stance I think that’s a forlorn hope.

  13. The whole Delmont family are money hungry animals and don’t get me started on their wanna be influencer girlfriends. One of the Delmont son’s stole over $250,000 worth of jewellery from their own family business and still works there…. imagine what other corruption is within the business. This is absolutely disgusting!!!

  14. The whole Delmont family are money hungry animals and don’t get me started on their wanna be influencer girlfriends. One of the Delmont son’s stole over $250,000 worth of jewellery from their own family business and still works there…. imagine what other corruption is within the business. This is absolutely disgusting!!!

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