ORIGINAL STORY: Australian musical instrument retailer Allans Billy Hyde is under increasing pressure, with former employees owed thousands of dollars after three stores closed earlier this month, and the company facing receivership for the second time in six years.
Australian Music Group (AMG), which operates Allans Billy Hyde and a number of other retail brands, owes thousands of dollars in unpaid wages to a number of employees who say they are yet to receive formal notices of redundancy, despite their stores recently being closed.
Music Feeds has obtained emails sent by a former AMG Chief Financial Officer to a number of Allans Billy Hyde staff in January 2017, which state the employees are owed thousands in unpaid wages following “errors in Award Rates and Penalties”.
The emails show that two former employees who both worked for five years at Allans Billy Hyde in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria are owed $22,186.37 and $17,926.57 in unpaid wages, respectively. Other employees from the same store are owed smaller amounts, ranging from $3,994.15 to $9,599.67.
In the emails, AMG said it would pay the owed amounts between February and March 2017. However, six employees across two stores have told Music Feeds they are yet to receive any such payment.
An email sent to staff by the former CFO in November 2016 also states that employees from 11 stores were not paid the correct penalty rates in that year.
Allans Billy Hyde closed its Alexandria, Southport (QLD) and Windsor (QLD) stores over the June Queen’s Birthday long weekend, but staff claim they are yet to receive official notices of separation or be paid their entitlements.
Photos from the Alexandria store (below) show stock being loaded onto a truck on Saturday, 9th June.
Former Allans Billy Hyde sales consultant Tristan Courtney-Prior, who worked at the Alexandria store for five years, has told Music Feeds he isn’t currently able to claim Centrelink benefits due to the lack of documentation.
“On Saturday, 9th June we were verbally promised we would receive a redundancy package on the following Tuesday,” he said.
“We have not received any redundancy payments, any written documentation regarding our redundancies or been paid out our annual leave, and we haven’t even been paid for the last week we worked for the company, including the last day, which was spent loading the remaining stock onto a truck under the supervision of company representatives.
“I have since attempted to access support payments through Centrelink while I look for a new job, only to find this process requires a separation certificate from your previous employer. Frustrating to say the least.
“I have attempted to contact the company through every possible channel on numerous occasions to discuss these matters, without success.
“Unfortunately, the Fair Work Ombudsmen has recently advised me they cannot compel the company to pay my outstanding wages, and they do not have the power to compel the employer to provide me with a separation certificate. This news has been devastating.”
In a statement, the Fair Work Ombudsman said it was “aware of these matters”, but declined to comment.
Australian Music Group is currently the subject of ‘winding up’ proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia, after the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) filed an application to wind up the company on 12th April. The hearing is scheduled to continue on Friday, 6th July.
While the ATO wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the case, a spokesperson told Music Feeds that AMG has and will have “multiple opportunities” to “present their case, resolve the outstanding tax issues or make acceptable payment arrangements”.
“Ultimately the court decides if a taxpayer is insolvent and whether a winding up order or a bankruptcy order should be made in the circumstances,” they said.
“The government-funded Fair Entitlements Guarantee (FEG) scheme provides financial assistance to eligible employees who lose their job due to the liquidation or bankruptcy of their employer.”
AMG last went into receivership in August 2012. At the time, private investors were owed around $27 million, and employee entitlements were estimated at $3 million.
In November 2012, Con Gallin’s Australian Musical Imports (AMI) purchased AMG and reopened a number of Allans Billy Hyde stores. AMI changed its name back to Australian Music Group in 2014, and currently operates other retailers like Musicians Warehouse and Gallin’s Musician’s Pro Shop.
Gallin, who is the current Australian Music Group CEO, did not respond to Music Feeds‘ requests for comment.
The only Allans Billy Hyde store currently in operation is in Melbourne’s Bourke Street, as well as the company’s online store.
Photos: Allans Billy Hyde Alexandria Store Closure (09/06/18)
Allans Billy Hyde Staff Owed Thousands In Unpaid Wages, As Stores Close & Company Faces Receivership - Music Feeds