Saturday, March 08, 2008

Edited!! opens!

Just to let you all know that the Lincoln shop was open today - with the alarm system blaring!!
I ask that you consider, should it be open again, not to make use of their services - and not just because I want you to use my services - but because of the way that the four long serving members of Lincoln Staff were treated in the employ of SSG and then in their uncharitable dismissal at the hands of SSG, and of course for all the other staff at all the other shops that have been treated in such a shameful manner.
(If you need to know more about the, shameful and morally dubious to my way of thinking, actions of SSG then click on the title to go to Dave Walkers Cartoon Church blog as he has done a fantastic job of reporting on this issue!)


Anyway the shop was manned by two gentlemen - one from York and one from Birmingham.
I was phoned on my mobile phone by one of the gents to ask for the alarm code!!

Whilst one of the original Lincoln - and so uncharitably treated staff - was in the shop, The locksmith asked 'Should I make the invoice out to SPCK then' to which one of the young men, not sure if it was the one from York or the one from Birmingham, said yes
- the ex-member of staff immediately informed the locksmith that no he should not as SSG are not SPCK and do not have the right to use the name.

I would suggest SPCK really needs to crack down on this one soon - there surely must be something that can be done about this use of the name over the shop, when in point of fact both by SPCK's own statement
and SSG's Statements this name is not supposed to be being used by the shops!( http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=46788I & http://www.spck.org.uk/ & http://www.thebookseller.com/news/47694-book-chain-drops-spck-name.html ) I know from today that a lot of people do not realise it is not an SPCK Bookshop and that their money is not going where they believed it was, but is in fact going to a whole different charity with a whole different set of aims! come on SPCK at the least you are loosing out on your own potential donors let alone the continued damage to your name and reputation.

The young man from York later came into my shop to again ask for the code. I would tell you the conversation that ensued but I saw red when he told me he worked for "SPCK Bookshop" York, was a member of 'my team' and also in the union.

I pointed out all my team had been dismissed
by SSG and our union was involved in trying to safeguard their rights in relation to SSG, and that SPCK had no bookshops.

I have to admit there was a certain word that came to mind! union members that act against their union and other union members due to concerns only for themselves - hmm but that is uncharitable so I would like to say here, that I do understand that the gentlemen from other shops do have a need of a wage themselves and that I forgive them for stepping all over my friends
who have been so shamefully treated and for not thinking of them when choosing to come into and open a shop where all the staff were dismissed in so wrong a manner.

I do understand the need to earn a wage and am sorry if anything I said caused a feeling of guilt or made the gentleman from York feel bad, two wrongs don't make a right and I could have been more charitable myself - but then the young man in question could have given some consideration for others and thought how his action might have made them feel before phoning us or coming into our places of work and asking for the codes for the alarms.
One of the other ex-members of staff was also contacted by another
SSG employee on her mobile asking for the Codes for the shop! the sheer audacity of these people begger belief - you do not contact members of staff after you have terminated their employment in such harsh manner - this is surely a form of harrasment and not really very acceptable to my way of thinking.

Interestingly though is that although at least three people,
not in the employee of SSG and with grievances against SSG, were badgered for alarm codes no one had the codes to the shop as most of us have let such useless info drift from our frontbrain with many other much more pressing issues to think on!
(oops and talking of pressing issues that keep slipping the mind I need to take this moment to wish the Subaru a happy birthday! see not just regular minions get remembered and mentioned on my blog!)
So in the end the power leads were yanked from the main Fire System Zone Alarm box to silence the internal alarms that were set off after the locksmith popped the locks! this in turn set of the very loud and shrill external alarm ( its a failsafe!! hooked up to the main electrics, after all any thief can pop the electrics to a Zone Box!) so anyway in the end a hammer had to be taken to the external alarm box to smash it into silence after a couple of hours, and all this when the shop keys had been sent to the solicitors by the landlord, so they shouldn’t have needed to pop the lock anyway as their solicitors should have been able to give them the keys, and
the owners of SSG should have had the alarm code as they had been supplied with it quite a few times!
There is now a glaringly obvious hole in the casing where once there was a perfectly innocent and intact (if occasionally noisy but with good purpose!) Alarm box. I do believe I was also informed of smashed glass in the large window of the back office where online and goods inwards used to be housed, I guess they did not have keys to those locks either!
Sums up the SSG management technique perfectly if you ask me!

However this aside I still could have handled my reactions better and again apologise for what I said whilst he was in my shop and I genuinely do forgive him for the harm and pain caused, I like to believe and am sure that it was not intentional just misthought.

Like I said I offer up humble apologies and do indeed sympathise (well ok I did once I cooled down a little!) with the gents - especially as one did say he felt he had no choice but to go where sent
if he was to keep his shop open and the jobs of the others at his shop as that was the bargain he had to agree to to keep the shop open - I suggested he speak to his union rep. as what could possibly be percieved as blackmail, bullying or threats against staff to ensure compliance and make them do things they don’t want to do for fear of being responsible for a whole team losing their job is probably not pucka play!

One of the wrongfully treated ex-SSG staff works for me on a part time basis (the minion known as snowflake or minion no.2) and was in the shop when the gentleman from York came in to try to get the alarm codes again, his words and actions hurt her deeply as she needed and still needs the income that she has been cheated of - she did not in any way resign or quit, she said she would continue working under her old contract as was her right.

I know at least two other staff were also very distressed by this whole situation as I spoke to one almost immediately after I was contacted by mobile by the gentlemen in the shop, and the other made contact later that afternoon, again they did not in any way resign or quit, but said they would continue working under their old contracts as was their right.

Her need now is great, as is that of the other staff now without jobs, and though I offer what hours I can that is not enough to cover her mortgage, and for everything she earns from me she loses in respect of benefits and entitlements, thus unless I, or someone else, can offer her 30 hours a week she will continue to struggle.
As I said back last month - it is my hope to be able to provide employment where possible for my old staff, but I cannot do that yet so if anyone does have a job or three going then please contact me so I can pass on the info to these able people (on a lighter note - Being utterly selfish - I would appreciate it if one of these jobs I know you out there have to offer is mon-friday only so I can keep my excellent Saturday staff please!)
Just to remind, this particular member of staff had worked at the SPCK/SSG shop for over 6 years - the new girl! the other members of staff had all worked there for time frames between this 6 years and going up to 14/15 years! Dedicated, committed and hardworking people who served the Lincoln Christian Community with real commitment and faithfulness in this time.

I know, I worked with them, and we all would most likely still be working there if not for the way we had been treated by these employers. Our commitment to this community never wavered, our faithfulness to the message and job of Christian Bookselling as embodied in choosing to originally work for SPCK never altered, however we are not now there - not by our choice but by cruel circumstances that need never have been. Still we continue to serve where and how we can with a hope for the future!

So given all this, again I would ask you to consider should you support any ventures of SSG?? even if they are still pretending to be SPCK and trading on the good works of that institution and our, and our predecessors, work in Lincoln and for this community??


Speaking of Jobs, I want to congratulate Debbie on her new Job as Dr's Receptionist, she will do an excellent job as she never does any less! and the Surgery made the right choice in taking her on as she will be an asset to them! Well Done Debbie - you rock girl!
Now come on people we need 3 more jobs here please - at least until I am in a position to and can take some of the staff on more permanently with your kind support!


By the way I want to say a REALLY BIG AND HEARTFELT THANK YOU to Father Phillip of the local Orthodox Church for asking his congregations to support our endeavours here, and also to all the other members of Clergy and their congregations, including Bishop John Saxbee, Rev'd Ian Silk, Rev'd Richard Billinghurst & Rev'd Simeon Bishop to name just a very few who have been so supportive and wonderful as we have endeavoured to get the Christian Component fully up and running. I also want to thank all of the customers who have just "found" us and offered kind words and prayers! This really means much more than you can ever know and I do sincerely thank you all.

"Unicorn Tree Christian Books & Church Supplies" now has its own dedicated stall (Unit No. 3 - just opposite the rest of the bookshop) with Candles, Wafers, Incense, Hymn Books, Service Books, Bibles, Reading Notes, Stationery, Christian Books, Gifts, Cards and More now. Watch this space - PDQ is now in and Church/institution Accounts will be ready to be applied for and opened in the next few weeks!

I would also like to thank DLT, Kevin Mayhew, Alban, Church House Publishing, SCM-Canterbury, SPCK Publishing, Charles Farris, F.A. Dumont & Shinglers of Sutton amongst other publishers & Suppliers for being so fantastic in the last few weeks and helping get things moving.

Okay that's all for now - see you in the shop on Monday!


(This post has been edited as a safeguard - for the reasons as to why this may have been necessary visit http://www.cartoonchurch.com/blog/category/save-the-spck, Oops now wait you cant - I guess you better go here instead: http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/series/cease-and-desist-notice-on-dave-walker/ Should I be notified personally and directly by the concerned parties of anything then I will of course let you know and then take any further necessary actions as may be required)

3 comments:

spckssg said...

Hi Melanie - maybe time to reinstate sans crossings-out? You can't seriously believe old Brewhead Snotblast is really gonna come after you now, surely?

Cheers,

Phil

unicorntreebooksboss said...

Phil,
to see the comments all you need to do is highlight the text, it was always there as I never undo anything I have done - all I am willing to do is blend it into the background and not make it so obvious - but nothing done can be undone and so this too will remain as a reminder of things as well.
But like I say for all the details then just highlight the text and it will all magically reappear as plain as it ever was.
Things cannot be hidden in the light or in the dark - all things become clear in the end.
Cheers
Melanie

spckssg said...

Thanks Melanie - yes, I'd discovered that but not everyone will...

I take your point about leaving it as it is as a reminder, though.