Bindery dealer BMS: We did right thing

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Used finishing equipment dealer BMS, which bought most of the equipment at collapsed trade finisher The Bindery, says it received assurances some of its money would be used for redundancy pay.

Due diligence: BMS (Image: Toni Brown)
Due diligence: BMS 

Writing to Print21 from its base in the UK, the CEO of BMS Toni Brown says, “We can’t help but feel that your reference to our company puts us in a bad light. Yes, we did buy some equipment and yes, our engineers did remove the equipment over the said weekend. However, our due diligence prior to this all lead us to believe that the employees would be taken care of.”

BMS engineers were in the Mount Waverley factory of The Bindery the day after Gulati told the 40 staff the business was closed with immediate effect.

Brown says, “We would like to set the record straight from our side.

“During negotiations with Mr Gulati, we asked him directly regarding the situation with the staff and he assured us that everything would be handled in the correct manner. We were assured at every stage that this was still the case. In fact, as part of the agreement, we gave Mr Gulati a large deposit payment against the machines to allow funds to be in place to be used for the employees' redundancy pay. This is something which we insist upon whenever we are handling a factory closure, and we had no inclination that he would do this to the good, honest, and hardworking staff.

“Furthermore, regarding the equipment being shipped overseas, this was something which Mr Gulati insisted upon during negotiations. However, we worked to ensure that this demand was not formalised as part of our agreement. This is so we could ensure safe passage of some of the machines to Marvel, who also gave us the assurance that they would secure the jobs of operators locally.

“We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.”

Former Bindery staff have been vociferous in their complaints that they have not received their entitlements.

On the day he closed the doors to one of Melbourne’s big two trade binding houses, which he had bought five years ago, Gulati gave an emotional address to staff, telling them he would be paying out their wages – five weeks in some cases – and their entitlements.

However, when the promised payment schedule was due to take place, nothing was forthcoming; instead staff have received a letter from the liquidators telling them to apply to FEG – the government scheme to recompense former employees of closed businesses – for their entitlements.

Gulati bought The Bindery five years ago as part of his plan to create a super-sized print business that would inject new life into the industry. However, that dream is now over, with both The Bindery and his print business Rooster IMC going into administration in the last few weeks.

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