The bookstore chain Norley gave its owners a stake of NOK 50 million. Store employees received a bonus of 17,500 NOK. The Hong Kong club believed that dividends should have been used to increase salaries.
Norley can point to a good annual result for 2021. Sales of giant bookstores, including franchise stores, amounted to about NOK 2 billion. This resulted in a profit of NOK 82 million before taxes. According to the calculations, the owners received a dividend of NOK 50 million.
The owners – Norgesgruppen and Aschehoug – received 25 million NOK each. Employees received a bonus: NOK 17,500 for full-time store employees and NOK 35,000 for full-time store managers. Same amounts as last year.
Chief Store Attendant Camilla Martinsen at Commerce and Office (Hong Kong) in Norley wants more profits to go to employees.
“I’m so glad we agreed on a bonus scheme that rewards everyone who defended Norley in 2021, but the benefits could have been better distributed,” she says.
– Amazing amounts
The 25-member store host at Norli’s Universitetsgata and Palace in Oslo, Helge Bjørn Johnnysen (64), agrees with Martinsen.
Revenues are huge. I’d like Norley to spend more money on employment, higher salaries, and pension payments, says Johnson.
Store employees have a minimum statutory occupational pension of 2% of the salary.
Union leader Christopher Beckham in Hong Kong is also reacting to earnings.
Why can’t Norley provide benefits to employees in the form of an increased base salary, a higher pension, and other workplace welfare benefits that benefit everyone? It would have been a fair way to do it, says Beckham.
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Trade union representatives will raise their salaries
Although Martinsen says her colleagues appreciate the bonus, she’d rather see the company increase salaries. Johnnysen thinks the same thing.
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You want a different distribution: It would have been more equitable if the bonus had been part of the salary, says Helge Bjorn-Jonesen.
– We work in a low-paid profession and do not say no to ten thousand crowns directly into the account. However, the bonus is not paid out automatically every year. The business owner decides. It would have been fairer if it had been part of the salary, says Johnson.
This year, everyone was rewarded according to how much they worked in 2021 and not according to the percentage of jobs they held in the contract.
This was not the case a year ago. After that, employees with less than 20 percent of the position on paper did not receive a bonus, even though they actually worked more, according to Camilla Martinsen. At Norley, 40 percent of employees have part-time contracts.
Martinsen is thrilled that all employees, including those whose contracts are less than 20 percent, are receiving a bonus.
Shares in good years
John Thomasgaard, CEO of Norli, understands that employees want a bigger share of the pie, but reminds us that it’s the first time in 15 years that the two owners have earned a profit.
The owners have stood by the company for many years, even when Norley had high debt requirements and incurred a loss. Thomasgaard says Norley would not have survived without the long-term owners.
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Low Salaries: – I understand that you don’t get rich by working in a shop, says John Thomasgaard.
Norley’s boss refuses to give employees increased salaries and better pension plans instead of bonuses. He warns of the high level of cost that the company will not bear in the long run.
There is a big difference between non-recurring benefits and fixed costs. With this bonus, says Thomasgaard, we share exceptionally good results in the good years.
I understand that you don’t get rich by working in a store. He says: I wish we had a higher wage level, but we follow the tariff.
85 of the 185 stores in Norley have a collective agreement. Norley Group does not own all the libraries. 45 of them are franchise stores. Local merchants – also called franchisees – decide for themselves whether their employees will receive a bonus.
Norley’s principals and principals also received a bonus, but not John Thomasgaard. He had to settle 2.4 million kroner of salary and benefits in 2021.
Possible hit on the horizon: Complete cessation of wage settlement in retail
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