A union representing workers at Whitcoulls says staff will be very surprised by the fees being charged by the company's administrators.
Ferrier Hodgson's list of fees, which the REDgroup's creditors are asked to approve, range between $205 an hour for a junior or filing assistant and $827 for a partner.
The National Distribution Union, which represents 25 of the 1400 mainly non-unionised workforce, says it is ironic that administrators are paid huge fees to save a broken company.
Its general secretary, Robert Reid, says the charges just exemplify the economic system.
Mr Reid says his union is trying to confirm whether staff will be paid on Thursday.