Having not spotted this until today, it's probably not surprising that the Cartoon Church Backup Site has sneaked under the radar of pretty much everyone. It seems to have been set up by Dave Walker when the CartoonChurch blog was having difficulties, and duplicates a few of the posts which Dave was forced to take down 2 weeks ago.
Along with a few comments, it has some interesting stuff - e.g. the postponement of an industrial tribunal in Sheffield because SSG had gone into bankruptcy proceedings the week before, and a list of the directors of 'ENC Management Company', who have taken over the running of the SPCK shops from the Society of St. Stephen the Great. It's exactly the same people.
Here's an extract from the email sent by Mark Brewer explaining this:
SSG-LLC is not authorized to employ any person or incur any debt. With immediate effect, SSG-LLC payroll, redundancy and other such obligations will only be payable through the bankruptcy court. SSG-LLC employees of record as of 4 June 2008 will receive further notification directly from the bankruptcy court about how to submit a claim.
The bookshops will now be operated by ENC Management Company. Former employees of SSG-LLC are invited to apply for a position with ENC Management Company. If you wish to apply, please reply to this email so indicating.
So SSG goes into bankruptcy to get out of paying its creditors, or making up the missing PAYE that employees hadn't been paid, etc. etc., and sets up a new company overnight with the same people in charge to start with a clean sheet. Is this how they normally do business in the Land of the Free?
Meanwhile, the Chester Chronicle has an update on the USDAW action against SSG. Here's an extract from the report.
Usdaw spokesman Cherry Hamilton said: “We are currently finalising 11 remaining claims to submit. This will bring the number of claims up to 30.
“The President of the Employment Tribunals has ordered them all to be heard together in one tribunal in Bury St Edmunds, following a request from Usdaw. We await information on the date.”
Although the Brewer brothers have filed for bankruptcy in the US, Usdaw firmly believes these proceedings have no effect in the UK meaning the claims against the company can continue.
John Hannett, Usdaw general secretary, said: “It is clear that staff, many of whom have been long standing loyal workers, have been mistreated and many are understandably very upset and concerned.
“We are very concerned at a new company (ENC Management Company) being set up in these circumstances, while our members are losing their jobs.”
Too right. And if you're a former SPCK employee and USDAW member who might have been unfairly dismissed, here is the USDAW website. The number of claimants was 15 back in June, and seems to have doubled.
Worryingly, an article about the new 'ENC Management Company' in the magazine Christian Marketplace magazine has been pulled from their website. Phil Groom had an article about SPCK pulled from the latest issue at the last minute. Maybe some letters or emails to the magazine pointing out how concerned we are at the situation would help them to publish it in the next issue.
Finally, back to that backup site. Have I just landed Dave Walker in it? Or has the flow of Cease and Desist correspondence stopped? Did I say how many posts were on it? No? Count them up one day and it might be 75..........