The staff of the fashion group FNG has not been paid since this Saturday, August 1, according to the Christian union ACV Puls. The bank accounts of Brantano’s parent company, CKS, Brandstores and FNG Group Holding, in particular, have been blocked and a trustee will not be appointed until Monday, said Paul Lembrechts, CEO of FNG. On Friday, FNG officially filed for bankruptcy with 20 of its subsidiaries at the Mechelen Company Court. According to the company, the banks shut down its operations by withdrawing outstanding loans and freezing its bank accounts.
Mr Lembrechts said on Friday that FNG would no longer be able to pay its employees’ salaries from August 1, the union said on Saturday. “He says he is frightened by the incredible aggressiveness of the steps taken by the banks. These make continuity particularly difficult within the Belgian clothing chains”, writes ACV Puls.
“The July salaries were paid on the 25th, while we still had access to the accounts. Access that we no longer have today. Management can no longer vouch for the payment.” of the last few days, explains the CEO. “The banks, which are currently the economic owners of the companies, told us on Friday afternoon that they did not want to vouch for wages. We have communicated this information to the workers.”
Monday morning, the Malinois court will undoubtedly declare the bankruptcy of the subsidiaries concerned. “A curator will then be appointed, who will in turn speak to the banks about the payment of salaries. But for this first weekend of sales, there is currently a problem”, concludes Paul Lembrechts.
Also according to ACV Puls, FNG forced employees to work their hours this weekend, which Mr. Lembrechts denies. “This is not an obligation. As an employer, we offer the possibility for employees to come to work but, we insisted, their absence is not illegal.”
Since each employee can decide whether or not to come to work, it was not known which stores in the group would be open on this first day of sales. “At CKS, I was told on Friday that almost all of the staff would come to work on Saturday. I have less information about Brantano but a significant number of stores should also be open.”, according to the CEO of FNG.