High Street games retailer GAME has responded to claims made by an employee who established a Facebook group for all staff affected by the recent reduction in working hours for many of the chain’s UK workers.
GAME confirmed last month that, following a period of internal review, it has reduced the contracted hours of a number of workers in many of its outlets. The decision follows news of a fresh spate of store closures planned for the coming years.
“GAME are finding ways in which to streamline workload and reduce the skills needed to complete daily tasks to a minimum,” the organiser of the group Kerri Sharp told MCV.
“Many who relied on their job to pay the rent or to feed their family, have had their weekly hours lowered in the worst case scenarios to just four hours per week. Communication between store staff and the rest of the company has hit an all time low. Management have taken the stance of nonchalance while the ‘support’ that was promised to employees in these difficult times has yet to be seen.
“Because of the competition towards the company from the Internet and the low prices offered by supermarkets, the incentives for customers to shop with GAME are the core of the brand’s identity and set us apart from our competitors. If staff morale dwindles across the board, customer service will undoubtedly diminish as a result.”
The accusation was also made that GAME has chosen to cut hours in an effort to avoid compulsory redundancies as the latter would reflect badly upon the chain at a difficult stage of its development.
The following is a full statement from UK & Eire MD Martyn Gibbs given exclusively to MCV:
“Let me start by saying that we are committed to stores for both brands and our teams who are working incredibly hard while we go through this process. However, as highlighted in our recent financial update, we are trading under difficult conditions and we reviewed staff hours in light of what was happening in-store and the general decline in the global market.
“Our decision was not to make compulsory redundancies but to review the requirements of each store and offer hours based on what is actually required in-store. For over 70 per cent of our staff there has been minimal or no change in the hours they were working before to what they have been offered. I know that is of no comfort to those who have been affected – we have, and are continuing to provide support for those who did find a change in their contracted hours.
“If members of staff don’t feel they are getting the level of support they need through this period, then please talk to your store managers again as well feel free to contact our HR team through the store helpdesk. They will assist you as much as they can through this.
“I want to be very clear about this – we are not avoiding paying redundancy to those affected. We have tried to avoid making wholesale redundancies as we understand the pain of that. Where there has been significant change in an individual’s contract, redundancy is offered - which is right and proper. For any individual who feels that this should apply to them, please contact your local HR representative or the central HR team for them to discuss it with you directly.
“I hear that people are also saying that we have stopped all overtime shifts. Again, I want to be clear and say that is not true. Please talk to your managers about what is happening on a week-by-week basis as you’ve done previously.
“In terms of stores work-loads, we have been talking with our store teams and have already started to implement new processes that reduce the work required so that they can focus on delivering great customer service. The initial feedback we’ve had from stores has been positive and tells us that this is helping.
“Our staff are the life-blood of our company and we will continue to do everything we can to support them through this current tough period and work together to deliver the best results for our customers, our teams and our partners.”