EXCLUSIVE: Huawei Kiosks Killed Off, Now Staff Want A Fair Work Inquiry
A major row has blown up over the closure of several Huawei kiosks in shopping centres across Australia with staff now calling for a Fair Work investigation.
Back in July, ChannelNews reported that the Chinese Smartphone Company who love bragging about their results despite being soundly beaten in the Australian market by arch rivals such as Alcatel Apple and Samsung moved to start closing down Huawei kiosks set up in Westfield shopping centres.
At the time Huawei communication staff who in the past have threatened ChannelNews over what they claim are “negative” stories about the Chinese Company, who were banned from partnering with the Australian Government in the roll out of the National Broadband Network because of security fears sent an email to ChannelNews claiming that several Huawei kiosks around the country are currently being relocated and that new kiosks will be opened shortly.
“At this stage Huawei will keep five kiosks up and running situated in Chatswood, Parramatta, Hurstville and Burswood in New South Wales and in Caroussel, Melbourne Victoria. The company is currently exploring new locations across the country”.
“The current and new kiosks will be redesigned to better meet Huawei’s customers’ needs and give customers more options when visiting a Huawei kiosk. Customers can test and get hands-on experience with new or upcoming smartphones, tablets, smart watches and other devices, organise or extend their contracts and now quick fix repairs are also added to Huawei’s customer service to create a better customer experience”.
Two months after that email was sent by Geeke van der Sluis Media & Communications Manager at Huawei Technologies (Australia) the Chinese Company has moved to close down the five remaining kiosks at Carousel WA, Bondi NSW, Chatswood NSW, Sydney CBD, and Parramatta NSW.
The initial kiosks closed at the end of July were Miranda NSW, Southland VIC, Doncaster VIC, Tea Tree Plaza SA and Carindale QLD.
Now staff are claiming that the payroll Company acting for Huewei deliberately changed the employment conditions relating to termination prior to the closure of the stores.
A former Kiosk Manager claims that in January 2016 Huawei forced all its staff working in these kiosks to leave Clarius a former payroll Company used by Huawei. Under Clarius conditions staff were to be given 4 weeks’ notice of termination.
He said that at the time Stephen Zagari head of Retail Operations for Huawei advised in an email in December 2015 that no changes would be made to their contract conditions and that the move was just a change of Payroll company.
The Manager added “When contracts were issued by BSI People we found that this was a lie everyone’s notice had dropped from 4 weeks to 2 weeks. When the staff challenged Huawei and BSI, Rachel Haughey from BSI advised that the change was made to benefit the staff giving them the opportunity to look at other employment options and that no prospective employer would wait around for a 4 week notice period”.
“Further to this she advised that 4 weeks’ notice was far too much time for a role like this. Stephen Zagari advised the notice period was an oversight from his behalf, but would still stand in the new contract at 2 weeks”.