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17 jobs at risk following retail takeover

17 jobs at risk following retail takeover

Thursday 29 June 2017

17 jobs at risk following retail takeover

Thursday 29 June 2017

Voisins Department Store has reached an agreement with Le Lievre’s Ltd to acquire its business assets and lease of the Don Street premises.

The acquisition puts at risk the 17 jobs of Le Lievre's current employees.

News leaked early yesterday afternoon, prompting outcry on social media from some frustrated workers who complained that it went public before they had officially been told about it.

A meeting was subsequently called at 17:00 yesterday to officially inform Le Lievre's 17 staff members, many of whom have worked for the retailer for many years. Voisins has announced that all current employees of the retailer will have the opportunity to apply for jobs at Voisins.

Reform Jersey's Deputy Sam Mezec criticised what he called Jersey's 'out of date' employment protection law. Since 1981, UK business acquisitions have automatically included the purchase of all existing employment contracts, but there exists no such obligation under current Jersey employment law.

"Ordinary working people don't deserve to go through that sort of stress when it's not their fault," Mr Mezec told Express. 

"We are 36 years out of date with the UK and we should get on with it because it helps ordinary working people," he added.

Managing Director of Le Lievre’s, Richard Le Lievre said: “The business has been in my family for 113 years and the decision to call it a day has not been taken lightly.  Over the transition period it will undoubtedly be an unsettling time for my team, but I am confident that this is the right move and the business will be in very safe hands.”

Gerald Voisin, Chairman of Voisins, said: "We are looking forward to maintaining the reputation Le Lievre’s built over the years as a specialist cook shop and home retailer, and are committed to offering employment to as many Le Lievre’s staff as possible.

"We know that Le Lievre’s has been a favourite among the island’s cooks and bakers for many years, and we look forward to catering for this audience, and building on the heritage of the store to create an inspirational shopping destination."

When asked about the job security of current Le Lievre's employees, Mr Voisin said: "We are only buying the assets of the business; we're not buying the business as a going concern. Therefore, we don't buy the contracts of the staff. We have our own staff here that will be able to operate the Le Lievre's business".

If approved, the acquisition will also give Voisins the opportunity to move its existing home and kitchen range into the Don Street premises, enabling more fashion brands to join its King Street store. The newly acquired business will continue to sell home and cookware under the Le Lievre's brand.

"We are already talking to some international fashion brands about establishing a presence in Voisins, and will be creating additional jobs as we develop this offer," Mr Voisin added.

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Posted by John Henwood on
Deputy Mezec should know, I'm sure he does, that the UK position, often referred to as TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employees) is activated by the sale of transfer of a company or undertaking. As I understand the Le Lievres/Voisin position, only certain assets are being acquired. Therefore, even if Jersey had adopted the UK's TUPE legislation it would not provide for the automatic transfer of staff contracts.
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