Friday, May 08, 2009

Dave Walker breaks silence on SPCK

Woohoo! Well done Dave. This was posted on his church times blog earlier. Both Dave posting it - after the new SPCK owns tried to bash him into silence with legal threats - and the story itself are newsworthy:

The Charity Commission has appointed an interim manager to manage St Stephen the Great (SSG), the charity running the former SPCK bookshops. The Saint Stephen the Great page on the Charity Commission website shows this latest status, and there has been a statement from USDAW about this and the tribunal hearings for former employees:

St. Stephen the Great tribunal
The long-awaited first stage of the St. Stephen the Great tribunal is due to take place next week in Bury St. Edmunds, commencing Monday 11 May, and is scheduled to run for three days. This is a preliminary hearing to consider who the employer of the claimants was at the time they were dismissed (the charitable trust, or one of the two limited companies).

Since the date was arranged, the Charity Commission has been conducting an investigation into how the charitable trust has been run and has now used its powers under the Charities Act to intervene and appoint an interim manager to manage the affairs of the charity (in place of the previous trustees, who were the American-based Mark Brewer and other members of his family). The interim manager has, in turn, appointed new solicitors to preserve the assets of the charity and contest the legal claims of the Usdaw members.These new solicitors asked the tribunal to postpone the hearing in order to allow extra time for them to get up to speed with the cases. But Usdaw objected, as our members had been waiting so long for their cases to be heard. The hearing will now commence on the Monday morning with legal arguments for and against the granting of a postponement of the tribunal.

Usdaw is hoping that the court will consider the best interests of the claimants, who have waited patiently for justice, three of whom will be travelling to Bury St. Edmunds to appear as test case witnesses on behalf of all those dismissed, and allow the case to continue on the day.

Last week Durham Cathedral announced that it had served notice on 'the current owners and occupiers' of the cathedral shop - ie SSG. See
Statement by the Chapter of Durham Cathedral, and in the Northern Echo, Storm rages over cathedral shop.

A group of bloggers have been posting about this situation over the last few months (years in fact) - see SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info for background information and ongoing updates

More over the weekend - today is supposed to be my day off - but I'm delighted that Dave feels able to post about the former SPCK bookshops again, and that things are moving forward for those who have suffered at the hands of the new owners.

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