ParknShop transferring staff 'due to new retail laws'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 10:22am

Supermarket chain ParknShop has defended a move asking workers to transfer to a new subsidiary, calling it an attempt to adapt to new retail regulations in the city.

The chain wants workers in its more than 270 stores in Hong Kong, as well as those in Macau and on the mainland, to sign consent letters that will transfer their employment to a new subsidiary, ParknShop (HK), on August 1.

The company, describing the action as an internal reorganisation of staff, dismissed "groundless accusations and speculation" after unions criticised it for failing to offer details of the transfer or to provide other options.

"ParknShop is business as usual," it said. "There is absolutely no change to operations, no change to management, no change to its growth plan, no change in its owner."

In the past, local staff signed their service contracts with A S Watson, the holding company of ParknShop.

The arrangement was no longer compatible with the group's global development, the chain said.

The reorganisation had been planned for a few months, the chain said, not for the purpose of any transaction but merely to effect a legal process of changing the employment entity.

About 200 of the 300 workers who have sought help from the Confederation of Trade Unions have signed the consent forms. At the Federation of Trade Unions, 300 of the 400 workers seeking help have given their consent.

The FTU said when a firm sold its business, its workers had the right to decide if they wanted to stay. It was inappropriate for the chain to ask employees to sign the letters without explaining its rationale or giving other options, union member Ip Wai-ming said.