High End Fashion, Low End Ethics – Blossom Road Clothing Workers take action, 20 June 2011

Workers clutching sacks of 'money' outside Scanlan & Theodore shop

Former employees of Blossom Road knitwear factory assembled today outside Melbourne Town Hall before marching to the Scanlan & Theodore boutique in Little Collins Street in company with representatives of the Textile Clothing and Footware Union of Australia,including State Secretary Michele O’Neil. They were intent on shaming the company for its complicity in the actions of the director of Blossom Road Pty Ltd, which went into liquidation on May 19, with employees losing almost $520,000 in entitlements, including unpaid wages, annual and long service leave, notice and redundancy pay, and employer superannuation contributions. According to the TCFUA, some workers had also made voluntary superannuation payments of up to $50 per week, deducted from their pay, but this money had not been paid into their super fund. The company claimed to be unable to pay what it owed, but nevertheless reopened under another name at the same premises on May 20, with some of the terminated employees asked to resume work. Scanlan & Theodore, which had been the sole client of Blossom Road, was continuing to get their product made by the ‘new’ company.
“This new company looks like it’s being run by the sole director of Blossom Road and members of his family,” said Ms O’Neil. “This appears to be a case of ‘phoenix trading’ and that’s why we will be taking our concerns straight to the retail outlet Scanlan & Theodore” at lunchtime today.”
“The high end fashion brand Scanlan & Theodore must come forward and demonstrate they will not tolerate the low end ethics of their supplier.”

(From TCFUA media release)

Michele O'Neil speaking in front of the protesters at the store

Workers assembled as planned outside the Town Hall, along with flag-bearing unionists and other supporters, before making their way down Little Collins Street to chants of “Scanlan and Theodore, Shame on you”. Also in the group was “Bill”, representing the owner, clutching a sack of money – later, outside the store, ‘he’ was to seize still more sacks from the workers. Michele O’Neil explained the background and reasons for the action for the benefit of the media and bystanders, noting also that the union had no quarrel with the shop workers inside, and one of the sacked workers also told her story.

Workers assemble at Town Hall -"'Bill" with sacks of money

One of the workers at the megaphone

'Bill' seizing money bags from the workers

Money grabbing