21 Employees Affected By HWP Job Cuts

August 25, 2011

aaaimage001 (1)[Updated] As a consequence of the August 8th fire, HWP said they have “been required to lay off and to give notice to a number of its team members. The total number of staff affected is 21.”

Jonathan Brewin, President and CEO, “We are not in a position to employ the same staff levels (as we did prior to the fire) due to the financial impact of the fire.”

“We simply cannot regain the lost revenues that have occurred as a result of destruction of our body and paint shops, showrooms, parts depot, administrative offices and IT and communications systems.”

“All of our efforts are on minimizing sustained reductions in our employment levels.”

“This has been done initially through cutting all non payroll costs and at the same time, getting as much of our operations up and running as is possible.”

“Although the HWP team has been incredible and worked tirelessly to resume operations, the fact remains that the destruction of our facilities and inventories has caused significant reductions to our revenue stream.”

Don Mackenzie, Chairman, said “The shareholders and management team have spent the last two weeks exhaustively looking at options to avoid reducing our staff numbers – however the fire has placed matters beyond our control. Now we are reviewing all and any strategies to assist team members who will be affected by our situation.”

“We are undertaking the following (where practical): temporary assignments with other dealers and garages, developing alternative employment strategies and options, providing resources for advice and support for those affected by severance or lay-off, and utilizing a lay off strategy (rather than severance) for staff members if we have the opportunity to bring them back as we review alternative employment options within HWP”

Jonathan Brewin added “We are grateful to the public and our customers for their continued support and custom with HWP. As detailed earlier, we are still operating our showrooms, parts and mechanical services. Getting these parts of our company back to normal revenue levels will ultimately assist our employees.”

Update: Staff affected include those working as body and paint technicians, parts and in certain administrative functions.

Update Aug.26: Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kim Wilson said, “It is terribly regrettable particularly in these tough economic times to see anyone lose their job. I can confirm that today I met with HWP General Manager Jonathan Brewin and HWP Chairman Don McKenzie and assured them that we stand ready and prepared to assist.

“Additionally today, the Acting Director of Labour and Training met with HWP human resources personnel and a coordinated effort is underway to ensure that all employees affected by the redundancies register with the Department of Labour and Training. Simply put, the Government remains committed to lending support to all those affected by this unfortunate tragedy.”

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  1. Additional Staff Redundancies At HWP | Bernews.com | September 17, 2012
  1. :( says:

    This is very unfortunate !

    • On de $ says:

      Hmmmmm – you are spot on the money! They the OBA new members wants us to believe that they won’t abuse use.

      Believe me they will abuse the country in more ways than one if elected. Dunkley as premier will be a horrible! Bob de snob would be worst and Craig is just being used as all the other grass roots politicians.

      Vote for the no one running on a party ticket.

  2. andre says:

    Gotta protect those profits!

  3. nnb says:

    excuses excuses. they were planning on letting ppl go before that fire. Good one CEO Blame the fire.

    • Cassy says:

      Motive maybe?

    • joonya says:

      accusitory remarks……………….Laverne may even bite this one..

    • j mark says:

      I agree with nnb, the Chairman and the Ceo had this planned along time ago, what they need to do is lay off a few senior individuals who get over paid and do nothing, no names

    • suomynona says:

      If you have proof to support such statements then they may be worthy of comment. If you also can justify the ways in which having to let go of these employees will be beneficial to the company then that would also be enlightening. But it seems that this is ignorant speculation.

      • Think about it says:

        Are you kidding me? How would letting go of those employees NOT benefit HWP? Those 21 salaries they just saved themselves from having to pay will cover the cost of constructing the new building alone

        • Dunno says:

          @ think about it….ok so…they dont have to pay them anymore which means less money out of HWP pocket…but they also aren’t getting the income they provided through their work….

          unless their jobs were redundant before this happened this has a negative impact the company…and if their jobs were redundant then no s**t they were going to get fired…

          do what your name says and think about it…your not going to hire someone for $20 an hour when their job only brings in $15 an hour…think before you speak

  4. Hmmmmm says:

    Years and years of profits upon profits; no investment in infrastructure and physical plant (the fire proves that) and two weeks later they axe 21 people ?! Don’t blame your government for hard times, blame the cut throat private sector who care nothing about people and only worry about their bottom line. What about the shareholders taking a reduced or no dividend for a period just to save the jobs and not add to the country’s woes? no freakin way…….What a disgrace.

    • suomynona says:

      Years and years of profits in this recession? It is interesting that you seem to have sat in meetings which have enabled you to conclude that shareholders will be maintaining their profits! And also good to see that you have read the part of the article which stated that HWP will be trying to assist these affected employees in any way they can!

      • ...... says:

        u must be friends/fam wit sumbody there cuz the ppl from march was told the same thing n nobody was helpd ur an a** if u believe that bt trust ill let u knw if it happen cuz ias 1 of them

      • Hmmmmm says:

        Are you for real ? Did HWP open its doors in 2008 when the recession began ?! Cast your mind back to the late Sir John Plowman the unelected czar of the UBP whose HWP Mitsubishi Lancers comprised the Government’s GP fleet. You remember don’t you? That’s when the Minister of Transport supplying every Government car from his business while sitting in the Senate and the Cabinet Room where the decisions were made was sound business sense. (I think its now called corruption)If the shareholders were taking a hit that would’ve been announced; PR 101. If HWP wants to help its employees they should keep their damn jobs.

        • Shaking the Head says:

          Maybe you can expand on this for those who were too young to remember. Other than HWP, what other car dealerships were there, and who owned them?
          I think there was Bermuda Motors, owned by the Gibbons family, but who else?

          • Hmmmmm says:

            No problem. HWP was Sir John Plowman whose acolyte was John Irving Pearman both were Ministers of Transport (JIP later became Home Affairs and Tourism), Mitsubishi Lancers were the order of the day. Then came Toyotas, compliments of Bermuda Motors owned by the Gibbons Group of Companies. When the PLP came to power in 1998 the first cars they replaced were ministerial cars….remember the four big peugeots? After the funeral limo Bill that was the first firestorm for the new Government. Why? Peugeot is owned by the Stirlings, not exactly fitting the profile.Since the peugeots died to what have they returned? Toyotas again….back to Bermuda Motors…..so, when ‘s the last time you heard anything about oversized cars? and the large ones that replaced the peugeots are larger and shinier but not a word……could it be where they came from ? But the UBP’s self-aggrandisement didn’t stop at cars……Sir John Sharpe was the head of Purvis Ltd. who supplied everything from paper clips to toilet paper to the Government. Moniz and George (as in Trevor Moniz) had the Bermuda Housing Corporation’s conveyancing exclusively locked down for years. Name an area that’s crying out for competition and you’ll find some exclusive ten year contract signed in 1997 or 1998 between them and the UBP Government. So all of that to say I don’t buy HWP’s sob-story. They’ve fed at the trough for decades and now when its time to bite a little bit, they drop the staff and keep their profit margins (NOTE: not just profits but the profit margins) intact.

            • Shaking the Head says:

              So basically what you are saying from your response is that there is no alternative but to buy vehicles from dealerships connected to people connected to the UBP. How then is this corruption as you alleged? Did the Governments of the day pay inflated prices for these vehicles? Not sure what relevance is the mention of Peugeots except that we were told they were bought because of the resell value, but they all repleced within a couple of years with a pretty damning condemnation from the then Minister (D Burgess), later retracted). Just seems you have a major chip on your shoulder as opposed to a valid argument.

              • Hmmmmm says:

                Silly me; thought you were actually interested in learning something. I’m not calling anything corruption. If those are the only people selling cars then that’s what we have to buy. For what its worth, yes they did pay inflated prices for the cars back then, just like the inflated rents paid around town for all the government offices in old UBPer’s buildings. I have no chip on my shoulder; the freedom brought by knowing my history and not being fooled by all this talk about corruption, transparency and the like is liberating.

                • Shaking the Head says:

                  Not calling it corruption? In your fifth line down your words are (I think its now called corruption). Pretty clear. Now you say the Government paid inflated prices for cars and rents – based on what evidence?
                  Glad to hear you’re liberated. The Government continues to go on taxpayer paid junkets, such as the trip to Washington for the unveiling of the MLK statue, yet cannot find the money for Sunshine League, hustle truck or schools maintenence. Enjoy poverty.

        • suomynona says:

          You have to lose jobs to keep jobs

          • Hmmmmm says:

            When do you start the local Tea Party Branch? Sounds like Fox News this morning who blamed the Obama Administration for “over regulating business” by insisting that goat herders have a clean bed in which to sleep when driving their bosses’ herds over days as well as some other basic 21st century stuff……like boots and fire retardant paint in the barracks they’re required to live in. What’s a few goat herders burned to a crisp as long as business makes money.

            • scrupps says:

              the business probably wasn’t making a a huge profit before the fire and even if it was how can you expect a business to run at a loss. Wake up we live in a capatilist society not a socialist one.

              • Hmmmmm says:

                Is it capitalism when a business says “blame the Government for encouraging competition” as the reason for downsizing? I thought in capitalism competition made service better and more affordable. Oh wait, this is Bermuda…another world. That’s the BAS/SERCO excuse by the way.

                • B, a Lady says:

                  It was not BAS/SERCO. It was ASB. Two different companies. BAS/SERCO is still very much alive. Check your facts before you post. And following your stupid argument, I guess we need another BELCO? You really do not know what you are talking about.

                  • The 411 says:

                    Check your facts. BAS owns ASB and it was the CEO of BAS – Joaquin – that made those comments.

              • Yup says:

                Your right @scrupps the business WAS ABSOLUTELY NOT making a whole bunch of money before the fire. I don’t know what these people expected them to do, go bankrupt trying to support all the staff and in the end causing the whole company of employees to be unemployed!

        • Morris Minor says:

          Having had a few relatives who actually worked for competing car agencies back in those days I can inform you that the car importers fought for Gov’t business by offering ‘fleet discounts’ and LOWER prices than what the average consumer would have paid then for a car.

          Believe it or not , Government was obligated to spread the dollar around and purchase from all importers so as to avoid looking partial. The exception was when the cars were too expensive for ‘budget’. One particular company had a problem in that it’s cars were always too expensive , and despite being recognised as a family company comprised of UBP supporters , they NEVER got any contracts to supply cars to the Gov’t.

          A new dawn circa Nov 1998 and suddenly that car agency on North Shore who sells cars of a more expensive nature suddenly becomes a de facto supplier of vehicles to the ‘New Bda Gov’t’
          And if I’m not mistaken , they were contributors to the PLP war chest for a long time .. How coincidental.

        • THE TRUTH (one & only) says:

          I feel sorry for the employees of HWP who were let go but not the company as an entity. HWP has been greedy for years as we all know. This is just bad karma coming back to bite them.

          The thing that irritates me with these car dealerships here is that their suppliers discount prices on old models when they create new models but does HWP ever pass on those savings to the customer? NO.

          In the States if there’s a ’2011 Hyundai whatever’, they dealership will give you a deal on a ’2010 whatever’…does that happen here? NO-they keep the prices the same.

          They were greedy and now they’re paying for it.

        • sharon says:

          Thanks for the reminder of how the “others” have been lining their own pockets for years! Bermudians live in the moment bie! This is a highly suspicious act no matter how you look at it! Where is the money! They have invested for their future and that ain’t in Bermuda! Pay attention people! Gosh! Really frustrated that we don’t take the time to teach the youth and then we don’t understand their frustration! Like the building of a government building why is that so wrong! Do you have any idea how much rent the government was still paying to the UBP peeps! Millions!!!!! No wonder them vexed! smh

    • andre says:

      I agree!

  5. cocoa says:

    Most unfortunate.

  6. OMG says:

    Was the idea of upper level management and board members taking a pay cut ever considered? This truly is sad.

  7. lifeblood says:

    Big surprise – Not! As I asked in a previous post: has the CAUSE of the fire been determined? The investigation should have long concluded.

  8. Moojun says:

    Isn’t there something called ‘business interuption insurance’, where the business owner pays a premium each year and in return the insurer covers you for lost revenues in the event of a catastrophe? If Management had taken out such a policy then staff wouldn’t have to get laid off until the business is back up and running.

    I guess Management decided not to take out that policy.

    • suomynona says:

      There are many more complexities and decisions to make with regards to insurance policies and claims and business owners will make exhaustive calculations and consider endless options in order to take the best steps for the business. Therefore, it does not all simply come down to claiming business interruption.

    • The 411 says:

      Just as they decided not to invest in a proper business continuity / disaster recovery plan…they just asked for it. I really thought McKensie and Brewin were much more astute than they apparently are…

    • Riley B King says:

      Some really naive and childish statements are being made here.

      To make a ‘business interruption’ claim, you have to prove the loss of revenue arises out of the fire. The insurer will not compensate for business lost caused by economic recession. If the economy was tanking and revenues were falling prior to the fire, which was probably the case, any insurance claim payment would take that into account.

      Secondly, business interruption insurance only covers a limited period of time. It might last 3 months, or 6 months, or sometimes more, depending on what the policy says. But it doesn’t last forever, and there are limits to what it will pay. So at some point, the company has to decide what its long term prospects are, after the 3- or 6-month period. If the building is destroyed, and if the customers have gone elsewhere, and it’s unrealistic to rebuild what used to be there, they have to look at reality at some point. The business is not so much ‘interrupted’ as changed, potentially forever. Not good for the employees, or the shareholders, or the managers. But a fact of life.

      The fire came at a bad time, by the sounds of it. Not the management’s fault, or the insurer’s fault, or the employees.

      • Moojun says:

        Good points Mr. King, but the question is… did Management even have ‘business interuption insurance’ or had they decided to cut that particular corner and preferred instead to risk the job security of their employees in the (unlikely) event of a catastrophe? If they had coverage, then surely they would be able to pay their staff for at least the 3 to 6 month timeframe that you mention above, as they would have been covered. 2 weeks later they are firing people = smells to me like there was no insurance taken out.

        In this case it is very clear that the fire caused the redundancies (Management have themselves just stated that in their press relaease, and I quote: “We are not in a position to employ the same staff levels due to the financial impact of the fire.”). I appreciate that the Insurance company would try to argue the contrary to avoid paying out, but that is a whole different argument.

        In this case Management is saying Fire = Job Losses. I would argue that Management cost cutting (if they did indeed avoid paying for business continuity insurance) = the reason for jobs losses.

        HWP Mangement should simply state the real reason for the layoffs, is it the poor economy or the lack of business interruption insurance that has led to these lay-offs?

        In the absence of any information on this from HWP however, we can only speculate.

        You are correct when you say that the fire came at a bad time and is not Management’s fault, but the bottom line is that Management’s failure to have an adequate business continuity plan, and appropriate insurance, in place has now lead to premature job losses. Note the use of the word premature. Given the economy the jobs would likely still have gone, all I’m saying is… in that case don’t blame the fire.

        • Riley B King says:

          The point here is that even if you have business interruption insurance, you still have to evaluate whether or not the premises is worth rebuilding in the way it was. If you rebuild a new premises, which would take maybe two years, that has the same function as the old one, in the same spot, will there be a business to support it? If there isn’t, then there is no point doing it. And some employees therefore might not be needed.

          It is a result of the fire. It is a result of the economy. It is not a result of failing to purchase insurance. (Although, like all of us, I have no knowledge of their specific insurance arrangements. But I do know something about insurance).

          In this case, some employees are relatively lucky…HWP has other operations in other premises, and some employees can be redeployed.

          There was a catastrophic fire. As you’re finding out, there are always uninsured elements to any loss. It’s part of the reason people usually try hard to avoid fires, even if they have insurance.

        • scrupps says:

          Your an idiot to think that a business wouldnt have that type of insurance. They would have declared bankruptcy by now if it was for the insurance having lost about 50% of the company. Also those employees who had been laid off will get paid a fraction of their wage for the next few months while they try to find a job.

          Of course the fire caused redudancies. But the insurance would not be able to cover recontruction of 50% of the business, new inventory, and wages for all the employees – and a business cannot be expected to run at a loss.

          To state that management should ‘simply state the real reason for the layoffs’ is riduclous because clearly the real reason is the fire.

          • Moojun says:

            When we’re trying to have an educated discussion on current events, can we please refrain from childish, provocative attacks like calling other people ‘an idiot’ when we don’t even know each other. This is supposed to be a forum for debate, not abuse.

            Thank you.

            • freed says:

              i wouldnt say it was an ‘educated discussion’ with the assumtions and claims you are making moojun.

              • Moojun says:

                Nothing wrong with making assumptions and claims. If we didn’t consider all alternatives then we would simply be ignorant buffoons who accept whatever we are told.

                • freed says:

                  there is something with making assumptions and claims. You should make sure you know your facts before you go around and say that HWP didnt have interuption insurance. I agree you shouldnt accept whatever you told but dont make make claims that you know so little about.

        • The 411 says:

          the decision not to have business interruption insurance is at the discretion of management….I would venture fully 90% of local businesses do not have business interruption insurance so your point is mute – it does not reflect one way or the other on HWP. As a privately held and managed company, what coverages they decide to or not to have is their business…would it have made a decision in the hiring decision to the 115 employees…not!

          • freed says:

            I agree that many small local business do not have that insurance bu i can guarantee that big business like HWP do and hopefully when it comes out it the news you will be enlightened.

            • Moojun says:

              I agree, freed. More information from HWP would be very helpful here.

  9. shakaZulu says:

    Not fair comments about HWP Group at all. This Company puts a lot back into the community.

  10. scrupps says:

    Yes there is such an insurance. It would take around 9-16 months to get the company back up and running again at 100% and it would be naive to think that the insurance will cover new inventory, reconstruction of 45% of the company and wages without severence. It was a neccesary step for the survival of the company.

  11. scrupps says:

    an unfortunate but neccessary step for the survival of the company

  12. Tired of hwp says:

    The hours worked by people in the body shop was recently reduced, so this fire is convenient way of getting rid of people without bad publicity. This is Hopeless, Worthless and Pathetic at it’s best.

  13. Shaking the Head says:

    So some posters are railing against HWP as a private company having to lay off staff because of the fire. Well the layoffs in the public sector are about to begin because there is no money for all the wages. No fire. Since the PLP have blamed the Global recession for the local economic problems, those in the public sector who are about to lose their jobs can rest easy that it has nothing to do with the Government’s mishandling of the local economy, so no need for any complaints as the layoffs take place.

  14. Hudson says:

    I’m not a huge fan of HWP as I’ve never had great service, but some of the comments are simply unfair and I would think completely unfounded. We live in a capitalist society – businesses that aren’t making profits will need to do something to fix this issue. Some solutions may include layoffs – just a simple fact of life in the western world. If you want handouts and a government supported system, live in a socialist country. Businesses can’t be expected to run at a loss just to support the local economy which is already in the sewer – that is lunacy and no business man would ever do such a thing on a sustained basis. That said, look at this a opportunity – where one Company shinks, another can grow, especially given how small our market is.

  15. Peace says:

    They should have been unionized.

    • suomynona says:

      They are.

      • seriously?! says:

        looking at your comments it sounds like ya one of those who were in place to do the chopping. things that make you go hmmmmm…

      • Oh Noes says:

        Obviously not the BIU or crazy Chris would be frothing by now.

  16. GPS says:

    CEO’s are the reasons why there are job loses…men in suits a.k.a. bad investors.

    Wall street a.k.a. the leagal gambling place…

    living in this ponzi sceme of life where only the men on top keep gaining while us on the bottom keep losing.

    • Shaking the Head says:

      Sounds just like the present Government to me. How many MPs have lost their jobs?

      • Riley B King says:

        Exactly. GPS, if all economic problems are caused by the people in charge, the “CEO’s”, then it must follow that the current bad economic conditions the country faces were caused by the “men in suits”, as you put it. Brown, Cox, Burch, etc.

        Is that what you meant?

        • GPS says:

          @Riley B. King….you’re close but was talking more about the legal gamblers…a.k.a. Wall Street….I am mad at PLP but PLP didn’t put us in a recession, Wall Street did.

          If PLP didn’t spend, then the pondits would have been saying, why PLP didn’t spend back then…..only because of the make up of the current Government the Ponzi Schemers need someone to blame other than themselves.

          • Rick Rock says:

            Oh I see.

            Well, let’s see Cox get us out of recession. She has after all created not one single job in her entire life.

            • GPS says:

              Rick Rock, are you a day dreamer or a night dreamer?!?….

              First, the world is over populated

              Second, computers have replaced humans at jobs

              Thirdly, Bollywood country has taken over the cheap labor

              So you expect Premier Cox to work magic and create a job…lmfao!

              Why hasn’t wall street created jobs??…hold up, oops silly me…they gamble peoples money 9-5

              Rick Rock, stop the glue sniffing and create a job…you seem like the CEO that still be eating steak during lunch while the rest of Bermuda eats Ice Queen’s onion rings.

    • Hudson says:

      Get educated, and aim to become the CEO then if you don’t like your lot in life… Accept that you have to work for somebody unless you have the means to be able to work for yourself. Life is only what you make of it.

      • GPS says:

        Hudson, you sound like one of them men in suits a.k.a. Bad Investors….

        Life is a Ponzi Sceme…not everyone wins….educated or not.

        FYI…highly educated people get layed off, just incase you forgot.

        • Yup says:

          And you sound like one of those uneducated ones who blame their life failures on the “men in suits”

          • GPS says:

            @Yup…Wrong person….I’m thinking of my fellow human beings, cause all you suiters aren’t….you got yours, not everyone haves.

            That shoe from Payless must have fitted well for you to reply.

    • Rick Rock says:

      GPS, I know that you deserve to be in charge of a business somewhere and it’s great injustice that you have been held back by “men in suits”, but the words you were looking for were actually “losses” (not loses) and “legal” (not leagel).

      Anyway, I don’t really get your argument that CEO’s are “the reason why there are job loses”.

      Enlighten us with your unbridled wisdom. You are always so eloquent.

      • GPS says:

        Rick Rock, thanks for the spell check, it’s always good when we all work together for the good of man kind…love the elegant words

        Just check stats, if you can get your hands on some…who flys in the Lear Jets with the secretaries while the wife is home with the nany walking the dog…who goes on expensive lunches while the hard worker has to bring lunch from home….who goes and plays golf during normal work hours while the hard workers are stuck behind the desk???

        If you got job security, you must be one of them Ponzi Schemers that are on the top of the receivership list.

        • Rick Rock says:

          Well let’s think about a few other questions.

          Who has 5 weeks vacation and 14 weeks ‘sick’ leave every year? Who can carry forward 100 days of unused ‘sick’ leave to the following year? Who can drive a ferry drunk into a dock, injure someone, and not lose their job? Who can call in sick, then go off and work somewhere while ‘sick’, and not lose their job? All while their wife is at home walking the dog?

          GPS, you not only are barely literate, you have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

          • GPS says:

            Incase you didn’t know…the average hard worker deserves all them breaks…they do all the ground/dirty work while the man in the suit sips on his wine during lunch and/or swinging clubs on the golf course.

            You must be the greatest boss that ever lived…..if you doing so good, why you mad at PLP??….maybe you’re not….

            don’t get mad at me/PLP because the ponzi pool sceme that made you rich is now nothing but a shower stall.

            FYI, I am the CEO of my life.

    • The 411 says:

      Pure Ignorance. Men / Women in suits are the ones who create jobs! Don’t you get it?

  17. Surprised? says:

    Crabs in a bucket!