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Gibbons staff hit by pay cut

Staff at one of the island's biggest retail firms have had their hours cut by half, it was announced today.

Edmund Gibbons Ltd, the parent company of department store Gibbons Company, drinks firm Burrows Lightbourn and Bermuda Motors, said that the move came after sales plummeted because of Covid-19.

A spokesman for the company said: “Since the pandemic began, causing severe interruptions in all industry sectors, these companies have seen a 90 per cent plus decrease in sales.”

He added: “In order to ensure the future sustainability of our retail businesses, and to avoid layoffs if at all possible, we have had to take the difficult decision to mutually agree with our employees an equal decrease in both working hours and salaries by 50 per cent, effective May 4 for Gibbons Company, Burrows Lightbourn, and Bermuda Motors.”

The spokesman said that 99 per cent of staff had agreed to the cuts, with only one opting for a layoff.

He added: “Further to this, all family members holding executive positions will not draw a salary effective May 4 and other overhead costs have been reduced where possible.

“These needed measures will remain in place for the month of May and will be re-evaluated carefully as we progress through the various phases of the reopening plan for Bermuda.”

The spokesman said: “We are pleased to have been able to work very closely with the Government of Bermuda to temporarily waive the mandatory payroll tax deductions from employee salaries and have also coordinated with them to automatically include the $500 dollar weekly unemployment benefit directly into employee salaries for those that are eligible.

“All employees were notified last month and we remain in continuous contact with our various teams to support them as and where possible.”

The company added its “top priority” was the health and safety of its employees and “keeping as many of them financially stable during this global crisis” as possible.

It said: “Throughout the shelter in place and lockdown period Edmund Gibbons Limited has paid all employees their full salaries despite being unable to operate as normal, while also needing to carry significant costs to maintain the viability of its various companies.”

The spokesman added: “Edmund Gibbons Limited and its group of companies has deep roots in Bermuda, dating back to 1916, and it is our deepest desire to continue to provide continuing employment to our employees as well as the provision of products and services that the community has and will continue to expect from us.”

Gibbons Company department store (File photo by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 02, 2020 at 3:25 pm (Updated May 02, 2020 at 3:25 pm)

Gibbons staff hit by pay cut

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