Glimmer of hope for Stuttafords workers amid store shutdown

CAPE TOWN – About seven hundred people will be out of work when retailer Stuttafords closes down in three weeks’ time.

South Africa’s oldest department store fell spectacularly from grace as retailers battled a tough economy.

But there is a glimmer of hope.

Entry-level recruitment company Lulaway is helping some of Stuttafords’ employees find new jobs.

The company will employ fifty of these workers itself.

“We’re going to open a call centre. We’re gonna get some partners involved to fund it. We’ll provide them (the fifty) with training…” said CEO of Lulaway, Jake Willis.

READ: Stuttafords shuts stores

Wills said businesses including Dischem, Afrizan Personnel and Bidvest Protea Coin had committed to employing some of the workers.

“We’ve got a new client who decided to join us for this initiative specifically – PQ clothing. They have committed to taking 30 people.

“We’ve also asked Mr Price to come on board. They (have) got vacancies… and positions they are going to put them in.”

Labour relations attorney Tony Healy said employees facing retrenchment under a liquidation might not receive any settlement payment because when a company is liquidated there are three tiers of creditors to pay before employees are paid.

“There are however no guarantees that employees will be paid because the secured creditors have first claim to any available funds to be paid out…”

Despite this, Lulaway said the situation can be turned around if more companies were to come on board.

So far, around 200 of the 700 people facing unemployment might gain new employment through this initiative.

Source: eNCA