Staff laid off from firm set to get Christmas and holiday pay
A wafer- thin silver lining has been revealed to accompany the massive dark cloud that settled on workers laid off from a Tokoroabased contracting firm just before Christmas.
The 76 staff formerly employed by Phil Rouse Ltd will at least get their Christmas Wages including statutory days and outstanding holiday pay paid to them.
That was, potentially, the one bit of good news to come out of a meeting for the company’s creditors held at Hamilton Gardens yesterday.
The 17 creditors who attended voted to exclude media from that meeting and, after its conclusion 90 minutes later, none wanted to share their hopes and expectations that they might see the return of some of the $6.8 million the company owes to about 100 companies, employees and Inland Revenue.
Likewise liquidators Jeff Meltzer and Lloyd Hayward of Mel- tzer Mason were reticent about revealing too many details of the plan.
‘‘The liquidators have been confirmed and are in position,’’ Hayward said. ‘‘The priority will be to the secured creditors. It is unlikely funds out of initial payments will be going to unsecured creditors.’’
The creditors at the meeting had also appointed a liquidation committee, Meltzer said.
‘‘We will be reporting back to the creditors in about three to four weeks’ time with details on where we go to from here. We will be looking at a few different scenarios.’’
Earlier this year Rouse, the company’s founder, told the Waikato Times his company had hit trouble over a $6m contract for work on the Rangiriri section of the NZ Transport Agency’s Waikato Expressway, while it was a subcontractor to Fletcher Construction.
Rouse wouldn’t go into detail about what happened, however the initial liquidator report states ‘‘issues arose with the head contractor’’.
Phil Rouse Ltd had been in operation for almost 40 years, and Rouse said he felt like he had been ‘‘gutted from top to toe’’ by the closure. He told his staff, 48 of whom are full time employees, just before Christmas they were not needed.
‘‘It’s been pretty devastating ... [They are] very, very loyal and dedicated people, and hardworking at that.’’