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The Warehouse defends wage subsidy, redundancy criticism



a close up of a street


© RNZ / Nate McKinnon


The chair of The Warehouse Group has defended the company’s decisions to claim $67.8 million through the government’s wage subsidy scheme and to lay off hundreds of staff and cut back hours for others.

The Group, which owns the Noel Leeming, Torpedo7 and Warehouse Stationery brands, has today released its results, confirming a full-year profit of $44.5 million.

The figure was released last week as a preview to the stock exchange and showed without the subsidy the company would have made a loss of $4.3m.

The company has been criticised by unions, the government and during the election campaign for restructuring and redundancies while getting the subsidy.

As early as June the prime minister said she was “angry” at the company pushing on with the restructuring while receiving the wage subsidy.

However, Joan Withers said the receipt

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  • October 18, 2020
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Furlough became redundancy, now what? How to make yourself more employable again

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Getty Images

The UK is opening up after the coronavirus lockdown but the financial impact of the virus, including the country facing its worst outlook for jobs for 30 years, and the economy contracting faster than after the 2008 financial crash, means the downturn is far from over.

More than a quarter of workers are now on the government’s furlough scheme, with those in the leisure, retail, and hospitality sectors some of the worst affected. It has so far cost the Treasury around £20bn. Some will have already lost jobs but many others will have their position at risk as the scheme begins to be phased out.

Although the furlough scheme runs till October, many businesses might start to look at forecasting and realise positions which they hoped to bring back, they simply cannot afford to have.

In a statement to the House of Commons on

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