Daily Archives: June 4, 2008

New Name for SSG?

SSG: Silly Stupid Games, perhaps? Apart from when you’re playing with people’s livelihoods and jobs, because then it’s not a game, is it?

It strikes me as particularly ironic that having started the day by promoting Mark Greene’s Christian Life & Work DVD this morning in my post about Small Group Resources, I now end it with a report on the latest shenanigans at SSG. Maybe someone could set themselves the task of producing a DVD on the topic of being a Christian employer? It could start with lessons in how not to fire your staff…

Yes, you’ve guessed it: another round, apparently, of firing-by-email. I have in front of me an email, apparently from Mr Phillip W Brewer, addressed to “Staff (in Chester)”. Dated June 1st it states:

Effectively immediately, all former SPCK Bookshops being operated by the SSG trading company are to be staffed by a new management company. Should you wish to continue your employment at the Chester bookshop, you may do so by applying for a position with the new company. The company which will operate the bookshops is ENC Management Company.

This is not a transfer of your employment under TUPE. Rather, this is notification to you by St Stephen the Great Charitable Trust that the trading company known as SSG (St Stephen the Great, a limited liability company) will no longer be operating the bookshop. 

I’m told that the staff have been in touch with their union and are being advised on how to proceed. Or not, as the case may be: who can say?

I invited the Booksellers Association (BA) — of which SSG and I both happen to be members — to comment, but have been told that there can be “no official or unofficial response from the BA, the ruling body of which has in this case specifically taken the established line that we do not comment on how members run their businesses.” That’s OK, then, I guess: I can abuse my employees as much as I like and no one’s going to hold me responsible. Where did I read that story about someone washing his hands? 

In the midst of the nightmares, some good news: Dave Walker’s Cartoon Church Blog is back online, albeit at a temporary location: http://cartoonchurch.wordpress.com/ — welcome back, Dave!

Please feel free to post your own suggestions on what SSG or the new initials ENC might really stand for…

Update 5th June 2008
Have just been informed that the Brewers have now advised staff that they can continue to work under their old contracts whilst SSG takes legal advice… watch this space…

Update 6th June 2008
Dave Walker has posted a copy of an email “sent to most if not all of the former SPCK shops by Mark Brewer” which states:

SSG (St Stephen the Great – limited liability company) has been terminated as the trading company to operate the bookshops formerly known as SPCK Bookshops.

From: SSG files for bankruptcy.