Brown Thomas Arnotts agrees voluntary package deal with unions

Measures include five weeks gross pay per year of service for departing staff

Brown Thomas Arnotts announced plans to cut almost 15 per cent of jobs across the two stores last month due to trading difficulties arising from the coronavirus pandemic

Brown Thomas Arnotts announced plans to cut almost 15 per cent of jobs across the two stores last month due to trading difficulties arising from the coronavirus pandemic

 

The owner of Brown Thomas and Arnotts has agreed a voluntary redundancy package with unions, following its recent announcement that it intends to cut 150 job across the business.

Under the process, which has been agreed after consultations with staff representatives, a number of options are to be presented to workers including a voluntary severance scheme offering five weeks’ gross pay per year of service. A loyalty bonus payment for those with over 21 years’ service is also on offer.

Other measures include the retention of member discounts for a period based on years of service, a paid outplacement service provider to help those affected to find alternative employment, and a training fund for those seeking to upskill.

More broadly, the business is also offering flexible working arrangements to staff, including a reduction in hours, job sharing or a nine-day fortnight. It is also open to staff taking unpaid career breaks of between one and three years.

“We are seeking to do the right thing for our people at this time,” said managing director Donald McDonald.

Trading difficulties

Brown Thomas Arnotts announced plans to cut almost 15 per cent of jobs across the two department stores last month due to trading difficulties arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Together, the two outlets employ 1,050 people, not including concessions.

While the businesses benefited from increased online sales during the pandemic, these have not been sufficient to offset the decline in turnover from its physical stores.

Jonathan Hogan, national co-ordinator for training and development at Mandate trade union, welcomed the range of measures agreed, which will now be put to staff.

“While the decision to embark on this process is necessary and will be very difficult for people impacted, we acknowledge the open and transparent way in which the business managed and collaborated with us in the process,” he said.