While thousands of workers at Edgars and Jet could end up without jobs, the two business rescue practitioners of their parent company Edcon have received massive pay hikes.
One of them, Piers Marsden is handling his part of the business rescue of one of South Africa’s oldest and biggest retailers from Canada, Netwerk24 reported.
In June, Marsden and the other business rescue practitioner, Lance Schapiro, requested an increase in their remuneration, backdated, from R1,750 to R4,500 an hour. They also asked that the daily limit on their billings be increased from R25,000 to R45,000.
Stakeholders in Edcon recently voted to allow them the pay hike, despite objections from the South African Clothing Commercial and Allied Workers Union.
According to a statement from Shapiro and Marsden, the rate is “based on the seniority of the practitioners, based on the expertise required to navigate a very difficult business rescue process as well as the size, complexity and time constraints of Edcon limited in business rescue”.
In response to a query about Marsden overseeing the business rescue process from Canada, they said: “(From) a practical perspective, the work performed by the practitioners can be performed remotely, with technology and ongoing availability and continued commitment to the process allowing the efficient and effective delivery of the plan.”
The massively indebted Edcon, owner of Edgars and Jet, was in a battle for survival even before the coronavirus crisis. But the national lockdown, during which clothing retail was forbidden for weeks, has dealt the company a seemingly lethal blow.
Edcon was placed into business rescue in April, and agreements have been reached to sell parts of Edgars and Jet to buyers.
The Foschini Group has offered R480 million to buy a minimum of 371 commercially viable Jet stores, while another clothing retailer Retailability, which owns the Legit chain, has agreed to buy an unspecified minimum number of profitable Edgars stores.
More than 100 Jet stores could be closed, and dozens of Edgars stores are also expected to be shut down, which could together affect thousands of jobs.