Weeks on from Qld based Krico going under with $4m in debts including $1m to the ATO its discharged employees are still waiting on their entitlements, with some claiming they have not received pay, super or leave.
Meanwhile DVT the liquidator handling Krico is aiming to sell off the business and its various brands as one entity. It is currently operating under licence as Chameleon Group Australia, a business owned by Emma Van Der Pluym, an office admin worker and long time girlfriend of CEO Chris Krieger, who is the son of the owner of Krico. Krieger has thrown his hat in the ring as a potential purchase of the group.
Troy Graham, liquidator with DVT Group says, “We did notify employees of our appointment and of the FEG scheme, and most employees have made their claims to the Department of Jobs and Small Business. We have verified the claims and the ball is now in the department’s court, they will have to review it all and pay the staff accordingly.
“Employees from a liquidated business are paid as a priority under the Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG). Wages are the highest priority and after that are their entitlements. It is all dependent on the sale of the business.
“The employees can claim wages and entitlements with FEG, but they cannot claim super under the scheme.”
When Krico went under, it made around 12 employees redundant at its Bundaberg and Hervey Bay sites.
One of the employees who was dismissed when Krico went into liquidation told ProPrint, “I worked with Krico for nine and a half years. I only worked four days a week, but I worked around nine hours a day.
“I got a call and was made redundant over the phone. I was told I would get my pay and my entitlements. I have not gotten my super for the last two years or my long service leave.
“We had around 90 employees three years ago. In the past few years it had gone down to around 20 people left. Then about 12 of us were made redundant and the people left had to sign on with the new company.”
Another past employee told ProPrint, “The people that were left behind after the liquidation, were made to sign a contract with the new business, Chameleon. None of their sick leave has been transferred and now they are restarting with a six month trial.
“No one has gotten their super.”
[Related: Krieger aiming to buy Krico back]
Danny Dougherty, Qld print division secretary with the AMWU says, “I have had phone calls where the staff have been desperate for help, but they were nervous to leave details. It was a massive shock for them.
“Bundaberg is a small region. Employment is limited especially in the printing industry.
“The questions were asking things such as how do we follow up our super or our wages. We made a few phone calls, told them who the appropriate bodies were to go to and guided them through the process.
“They were nervous to speak out even though they had lost everything and were out on their own. There was a lot of confusion and a lot of nervous people.
“It is sad and unfortunate. They were kept well and surely in the dark. The staff were given no notice and were at a loss.
“Hopefully they will get what they are owed. The problem is, it is a lengthy process. There are lots of forms that have be submitted to the tax office. People get overwhelmed and we can help with that. Thankfully, they have started the process.”
Troy Graham, liquidator with DVT Group says, “For the sale of the business, we have had a lot of offers. We are sorting through all of the expressions of interest we have received.”
“All assets in the Krico group are being sold off. We are trying to sell it off in one piece, which would have the most value. That is important, especially with the debts owed to various creditors.”
When asked about Chris Krieger, Chameleon CEO being a potential buyer, Graham says, “The licensee is a contender. He is trading the business under license, it makes sense that the licensee would be interested in buying the business. I cannot speak to who are the other interested parties.”
“We are working through various offers and with our stakeholders, we are looking for the best outcome.”
The brands include The Sticker Co, McTaggarts, Digital Powerhouse and H & H signs in Bundaberg, SignTec in Maryborough, Innovation Graphix in Hervey Bay and Rockhampton Printing Services.
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