Category Archives: Author Interviews

Podcast Interview with USDAW Legal Department about Bookshop Tribunal

Matt Wardman writes:

Last week we reported that a negotiated settlement had been reached and now implemented in the Employment Tribunal action between 32 ex-employees of the former-SPCK bookshop chain, and the Society of Saint Stephen the Great, now controlled by the Charity Commission through an Interim Manager.

I have done a podcast interview with Christine Peacock of the USDAW Legal Department, who has handled the employee cases (and the cases of paperwork) for the last couple of years. This interview aims to show some of the complexity of the case, and to give an inside view of the process. Here it is:

For new visitors, the background to this interview is that I’ve been involved with others in a campaign to place a spotlight on the mismanagement and asset-stripping of the chain of 25 bookshops which used to go under the name of SPCK, by the brothers J Mark and Philip Brewer. This blog has a very detailed account.

A community of campaigning bloggers, and a wider international network based mainly on Facebook and other social media sites, has had a role in this over a period of more than 2 years – gathering information, helping to expose a fraudulent bankruptcy attempt, keeping the Charity Commission on the case, and maintaining a spotlight on the case.

But this still has a long way to run – notably because there are still many small businesses who were simply never paid, and because compensation payments still have to be made – though that can be expected now that the Brewer Brothers no longer control the charity. There are more complex aspects such as what happened to pension and national insurance contributions which the Brewer Brothers never passed to the correct recipients.

And then there is the matter of bring Mark and Philip Brewer to some sort of justice, and making sure that those who need to learn the lessons from this debacle do just that. It is one more signifcant step forward, however.

The two Facebook groups are We Support Dave Walker (who was “Cease and Desisted” after 18 months of objective reporting; his blog is here), and A group for all those people who mourn the tragic demise of SPCK Bookshops, which still have a combined membership of well over 500 activists and supporters.