Workers ‘left high and dry’
Trash Palace closure leaves feelings raw
‘‘I have no idea what the hell I’m going to do now.’’
A Mana Recovery employee, who spoke to Kapi-Mana News on condition of anonymity, said he and his colleagues were hurting following the organisation’s announcement last month that it was going into voluntary liquidation.
Thirty-five staff will be without a job when Trash Palace closes its doors on April 21.
He is concerned about not being paid redundancy or holiday pay.
‘‘They’ve left us high and dry. Decisions have been made elsewhere in the business that have not made sense,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s [liquidation] meant a large number of people have nowhere to go.’’
Many of the staff could not read or write, or had other deficiencies, he said, and he hoped a new model adopted by Capital & Coast District Health Board towards mental health support would be able to assist them.
Dealing with customers was something he enjoyed every day.
‘‘It was busy, but you get to know people and the days go fast.
‘‘I put my heart and soul into that place. It was like a family, and then you find out the doors are going to close. I’m not eating or sleeping. I’m worried about what I’m going to do.’’
Mana Recovery issued a media statement on March 24, saying funding from the district health board – which made up about 22 per cent of its revenue – ceased in 2014, leaving the recycling and grounds maintenance part of the business as the basis for its income.
But ‘‘increasingly competitive markets’’ had meant the organisation had to be wound up, Mana Recovery chairman Alan Ellis said.
‘‘ We have tried various initiatives to continue our services, [ but] we operate in highly competitive environments and have reluctantly accepted it is no longer feasible to continue our services without ongoing funding support,’’ he said.
Kapi-Mana News last week asked Mana Recovery about the likelihood of paying out redundancies and holiday pay, if performance reviews had been carried out with employees, what steps had been taken to keep employees abreast of the financial situation and whether discussions were under way with other operators to take over Trash Palace.
We were told no further comment would be made.
Mana Recovery staff handouts from October and November showed cost- saving measures, such as disestablishing positions, a freeze on recruitment and reviewing the inorganic collection contract with Porirua City Council, were carried out.
A full review of Trash Palace’s staff rosters, work and sales practices, and marketing and advertising was also completed.
The increasing landfill costs was not helping Mana Recovery’s bottom line, the handout said.
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett, who is a board member of Capital & Coast District Health Board, said it was a shame a valued organisation like Mana Recovery had folded.
He said he hoped the council could help in the search for a new provider to keep Trash Palace running.
‘‘It’s fair to say most Porirua people will be pretty upset to hear Trash Palace is not continuing,’’ he said. ‘‘I hope something else will rise from the ashes and the mental health consumers can be employed again.
‘‘The council has to think very carefully about letting Trash Palace cease to operate and we will be asking our community to come up with suggestions.’’
Porirua mayor Nick Leggett hopes Trash Palace will continue to operate.