Page last updated at 19:54 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Woolworths: Your stories

Woolworths branch
Woolworths went into administration last month
Administrators at Woolworths say the chain's 807 stores will close by 5 January and 27,000 staff are set to lose their jobs.

Woolworths employees have been contacting the BBC News website with their stories and experiences.

Contributors have requested to remain anonymous.

I have been a store manager with Woolworths for many years now and would like to highlight how poorly this whole situation has been handled.

Both Woolworths and Deloitte have kept the entire store team in the dark during this administration. They have decided to make news releases about the fate of the company before notifying the store staff at any level.

During the last four weeks there has been NO contact from Human Resources, no support has been offered or put into place to help the workers during this difficult time.

To compound the issue further we are being expected to work additional hours which are over and above what would normally be expected of us. We are being given additional tasks to do which have put an immense strain on stores. The Woolworths brand was built on the loyalty of its staff and this is a credit to its 99-year longevity.

As a consolation we are being offered an additional couple of days to work on Boxing Day and the 27th to help finalise the handovers for Deloitte. Is this appropriate?

Is this treating a workforce in crisis with respect and dignity? I believe not. This is yet another reflection of an administration firm with no compassion, and a company with no moral standing.

It is time that Woolworths closed its doors NOW and allowed the staff to take stock, reflect on their personal situations and search for alternative employment. After all, the biggest cost in this is not to the creditors nor to the customers; It is to the 30'000 loyal workers who will have a bleak Christmas and an uncertain new year.

My wife works for Woolworths and feels the way the company are treating the staff is terrible. Yes, they were paid by Woolworths last month but they're still waiting in hope that December's money will be paid on Christmas Eve as promised.

The main problem experienced in her store is the lack of communication to staff who don't know from day to day if this will be their last.

It would seem only fair that the staff still working should be told when their jobs will be gone or how long they can expect to be in employment for.

In my opinion the company are stringing the staff along so that they can clear the stores of remaining stock. So is this a cunning move by Woolworths in keeping quiet and saying nothing and then waving goodbye to the staff when all the stock is gone?

My wife's store has received all their closing down point-of-sale labelling and posters starting the countdown to closure from nine days to zero. Presumably this means the staff will be given a mere nine days notice?

I worked in head office until we were all made redundant. I'm really quite angry because we've been given no support at all.

The day that we were told, we were gathered in our canteen and literally told we had until five o'clock to clear our desk.

I'd been working for Woolworths for under two years and was told I was only entitled to one week's pay. It says in my contract that they have to pay us four weeks if they terminate so I'm speaking to a solicitor about what rights I have.

I phoned HR today to find out when I would receive my final weeks pay and they said it could take four to six weeks. They didn't even want to speak to me.

I've been in to some of the stores to see how they're coping and so many people have already quit or been signed off for stress.

It's just horrible in the week before Christmas.

Woolworths staff are being treated appallingly. No one is offering any practical help, like sending in people from the job centres to advise the staff.

Although the announcements have been made that we will finish on the 27th, we have not been given any notice of this and are still unable to start looking for other jobs.

We are completely in the dark about what is happening and when. The whole situation is being handled very badly and it seems everyone has turned their back on us.

Thousands of us are going to be left stranded right after Christmas day. A big thanks to Gordon Brown for not getting involved or helping us in anyway at all.


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