23 Nov 2016

Union plans legal fight over Pumpkin Patch redundancy

9:17 am on 23 November 2016

A union plans to take legal action to ensure Pumpkin Patch workers get paid redundacy.

Receivers KordaMentha confirmed yesterday the children's clothing company would close after failing to find a buyer.

Some of the 160 Pumpkin Patch stores across New Zealand and Australia are likely to close within weeks, receivers say.

Hundreds of staff at Pumpkin Patch stores will be out of work by December. Photo: Flickr / Jason Hutchens

More than 500 staff at 36 shops will be out of work by the end of December.

Yesterday, 63 head office workers lost their jobs. They will be paid two weeks' wages and holiday pay but will not get redundancy entitlements.

An organiser for First Union, Lisa Fox, said that was due to "a loophole" in the law.

"The way that the Pumpkin Patch corporation has been structured means that the company which employs our members, and also other workers, doesn't own stock."

The union was not aware of this until the company went into receivership, she said.

It had signed a collective agreement with the company that included redundancy provisions shortly before the firm went into receivership.

"To us it's a mere technicality, and really the group of companies does have stock and that stock should be used to pay the employees' entitlements."

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