For 18 months a pawn broker has been using legal tricks to avoid having to turn up to a meeting with our union and explain his dishonest behaviour. The Employment Relations Authority has finally directed James Delmont to meet with the union to answer for his illegal actions.
Delmont will have to explain why he sacked two workers after a staff meeting at the beginning of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.
At this meeting, Delmont told all employees they were to take all their accrued holiday leave and that he was compulsorily reducing their hours. Two older women with families questioned his right to do this without discussing it with affected workers first and considering other options.
By law, they were right. He couldn’t do that. The government paid employers the $580 wage subsidy for their workers on the basis they kept them on.
Within days of the meeting Delmont announced a redundancy process, but just for those two workers – not for the other 36 staff. Unsurprisingly, he told them they were to be made redundant because Covid-19 was forcing him to cut costs. No one for a minute believed that.
Initially, he promised them some of the wage subsidy in lieu of redundancy pay. Two days later Delmont told them he had found out employers weren’t required to give employees any of the subsidy. In fact, it seemed he could keep all the Covid-19 money without any strings attached.
Clearly, Delmont hadn’t heard the prime minister say that we are a team of five million, and that she trusted employers to use the subsidy to keep their workers at work. When Ardern smiles radiantly and asks us all to be kind, these creatures see an opportunity to steal free money. It seems the nanny state is fine when it’s at the workers expense. At the time, hundreds, if not thousands, of employers got away with stealing the wage subsidy money from desperate workers. I remember taking calls from many devastated victims.
Where this guy made a mistake was when he claimed the redundancy process was undertaken for all employees. It wasn’t. On that lie alone it became an open and shut sacking case. His lie fell apart completely when he advertised these two women’s jobs the following month on SEEK.
When he was caught telling these lies, he went into hiding. He didn’t answer calls or emails. For 18 months he has used tricks and gameplaying to avoid having to front. He knows he’s a thief and a liar. He’s also gutless.
Delmont is a rich boy from the leafy suburbs. You can tell what he is just by his photo. His parents own the company. You know this type. This about two brown working class woman calling him out in front of all the other workers. Worse for him, they were right, and showed up his ignorance. He retaliated with petty spite.
The women say since they were dismissed they have received dozens of stories from current and former employees on the outright dishonesty and corrupt practices carried out by Delmont and his pawn broking business. Ugh!
We were 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?
Delmont has to attend a meeting on 27 May. If he doesn’t apologise and give these women the money he was supposed to give them in the first place, then I will ask you to join me on a picket line outside his house.
I want his parents to know what a spoilt and nasty child they have raised. Time to step up for justice. Put your name down for the UTU squad below.
Join the UTU squad (hold a placard)
Sign our petition online (prosecute criminal exploiters)
Donate (support our work)
Matt McCarten is the National Director of the UTU for Workers Union.