Time staff sent home as work dries up

Time staff sent home as work dries up

Summary: The largest UK-owned computer supplier has asked staff to return on Thursday, as some worry that they may not get paid on time this month

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TOPICS: Government UK
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Staff at Time Computers were sent home on Monday morning because of a lack of work, according to union sources.

This is the second week running that some Time staff have been asked to go home. Last Friday, allegations of problems at Time were described as "malicious" by Time’s HR director, Richard Harris. But a union source said on Monday that production staff at the company had been asked to stay at home for a second successive week, while staff in the dispatch and customer service departments were also asked to go home.

Staff were told this would last until Thursday, and that they would continue to be paid — but it is understood that some staff in the customer service centre refused to leave.

According to sources at the company, staff within customer services are angry that most of their work has been outsourced to India. On Friday, Harris said this claim would be news "to the 145 people here", but others at the company claim there are "less than 10 PC tech support staff left".

It is also understood that Time staff have suffered from delayed payments for two months running. The delays have been short but some are worried about payment this month.

The company has become a hotbed of rumour. "I work at Time, and we have been told nothing officially," one employee told ZDNet UK. "The place is full of rumours and everyone is worried about getting paid late next week".

It was difficult to substantiate or refute the rumours on Monday as Harris failed to return calls seeking comment.

Time has been struggling in recent months but has been a major company in the UK IT market for years. In September 2002 it described itself as "the largest computer operation in Europe" after the launch of 150 new retail stores called The Computer World, which it said would double Time's customer base to almost two million, with turnover rising to £300m.

Topic: Government UK

About

Colin Barker is based in London and is Senior Reporter for ZDNet. He has been writing about the IT business for some 30-plus years. He still enjoys it.

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17 comments
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  • You have to feel a great deal of sympathy for the workers caught up in this, however I feel absolutely none for the company itself.

    This company sells bottom quality equipment and backs it up with bottom quality service and gives the rest of the industry a bad name.

    They should concentrate less on creaming the customers and more on providing a decent service and then they might have enough new business to keep their workers busy. Instead, myself and every IT pro I know take every opportunity to warn people away from this cowboy outfit and send them to Apple, Dell, or HP.
    anonymous
  • i work at time computers as a CS advisor and i have to say what is in the report is true. there are about 8 tech advisors at the H/O and about 10-20 CS advisors. as members of staff we are kept in the dark about everything. i am dreading friday as this "should be" payday but my gut feeling is that no-one will be paid. there are big changes going on but we dont know what they are as no-one knows anything and no-one is willing to comment. thats why all the rumours have started or are they rumours. who knows1?!?
    anonymous
  • I work for The Computer Shop which is owned by Time. I have just been sent home and the shop locked. It looks like we have gone bust. I have a young family and know we will not get paid.
    anonymous
  • Its not a lack of work - there are tens of millions of pounds worth of back orders. The problem is lack of stock to build anything with. The reason for lack of stock appears to be lack of cash to buy anything with. I hope all the outstanding customers have paid with credit cards, not cash as otherwise they could soon be out of pocket.
    anonymous
  • No Computer Shop will open tomorrow. We have been told to put signs up saying it is due to a stock take but that simply isn't true. All the spare keys have had to be handed in to the manager. Have been told that the payment has already been made to the bank to pay the wages on Friday. Doesn't look good - just looks like stage one of a shut down to me.
    anonymous
  • OK HARRIS I HOPE YOU CAN SLEEP TONIGHT. WE HAVE ASKED YOU TO KEEP US INFORMED AND YOU REFUSED, REMEMBER ALL THE CHILDREN AND FAMILYS WHO NEED THOSE WAGES ON FRIDAY. YOU HAVE SAID WE WILL BE PAID AND IF WE DO THEN THATS FINE, IF NOT YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED.
    anonymous
  • I have had a feeling a long time ago, that this was going to happen, back when they first started shutting stores down, lead times went up, no deliveries, late deliveries for customers, call centres going to india (except sales calls of course), redudances at head office, no stock, fall outs with Epson, FNTF and Trust, and emergency stock recalls
    anonymous
  • I have to agree that customer service is shocking but being an IT pro and recomending companies such as dell and hp shocks me?

    What is wrong with MSI mother boards, seagate/maxtor hard drives, micron memory and sony/nec dvd writters?

    Having had to fix and upgrade dell machines, hp, packard bell, emachine etc I would say the tiny machine use the better of the parts. Its customer service thats the main issue or lack of it.

    Also why is everyone who can switch on a computer an IT Pro nowadays?

    Cheers
    anonymous
  • I agree. Most of the staff who have been with the company a while know more than enough about the dodgy dealings of the brothers. And not just that. There are rumours about the systems using second hand parts. There are some people within the business who can confirm for certain if there is any truth in this. I have a family to feed, a mortgage to pay. I do not want to be pushed to the edge, but I will do whatever it takes to get my money to support my family. We all work really hard to earn the pittance we do earn. Enough is enough. We need answers, or we will give the press ours.
    anonymous
  • As an Analyst, there are two dimensions to this saga that need to be addressed and done so immediately, to stop the rot and speculation that is undermining Granville and it's future viabilty.
    Fisrt, the traid of speculation and mis-information by staff ( old & new). On the whole is conjecture on limited facts. Using this forum to vent their understandable feeling, will do absolutely nothing to solves the current state of affairs, it merely stokes the fires further with an already nervous chain of suppliers and may scupper any "rescue" package or on going negoitation that may be going on behind the scences with any Banks / Financial Instituion.

    The above can only come about by forthright communications eminating from the Graville hierarchy.
    Business protocol dictates that statements regarding the health/welling being of any Company flows from the following:- The Director (or his Office), the Financial Director. the Sales Director or a Communication Officer . It seems odd that the Head of HR is given the burden of reassuring the business world and the Company's staff as the viabilty of the aforementioned Company.

    A final thought "credit card facility withdrawal"- Surely if this has been instigated at the behest of the bank, thus forcing the shops to close , would it natural to assume that the Mail Order/Web arms would be placed under the similar "house arrest", I would like to question the legality of the transactions on the latter if per R Harris statement- the Mail Order is uneffected. Could the latter be facilitated by another institute? There in lies the problem of statements issued by non Board Members.
    I would like to wish all parties concerned a speedy and mutally happy conclusion.
    Granville, your best asset are the people that serve you and have brought much wealth and success to your bank balances, it seems the majority need straight answers however uncomfortable that prospect may seem. Bite the bullet, if the answers are incomplete, tell them. "good Marriages are based on trust & honest communication"
    anonymous
  • I work for 'The Computer Shop' and know that we have lots of items on back order, mainly the plasma TV
    anonymous
  • I agree the level of information we as staff get is ridiculous. We were at work as normal yesterday (Monday), at 7 pm our store manager got a call from the area manager telling him not to open the shop today. I came in at 9 am to find the 'stock take' poster getting printed out. After 2 conference calls the store manager was still not able to tell us when or if we would come back to work and whether we would be paid on Friday or indeed at all. We are thinking the company is going bust, but it is all speculation as nothing is known for sure. I wish I knew what was happening!
    anonymous
  • One thing that's really alarming, are the people, apparently, present/past employees, claiming to know what really goes on in the deepest bowels of the company... Truth is, they dont really. I agree that they are perhaps covering over the real truths right now - but until they're finally unveiled, there are only a very limited few people who actually know that truth. So come on, lets stop with all the speculation about whats going on, and face facts - we dont know whats going on - different stories are being presented to different media sources - no one on our side of the fence really knows whats going on.
    anonymous
  • It is very sad to see this happen to such an important company, the impact to the local community will be huge.
    But spare a thought to all the companies in the UK that have supplied Time without the safety net of credit insurance, the damage to the UK computer industry could mean that it is not the only company that will stop tradeing. Another blow to the UK PC market.
    Lets hope this is one we can suffer and overcome
    anonymous
  • IF I DONT GET MY MONEY I WILL GO TO NEWS PAPERS AND EXPOSE THE DODGY DEALINGS, LIKE SENDING CASH UP TO HEAD OFFICE IN A SILVER SERVICE BAG. WORKING WITH NO EMPLOYMENT LAW NOTICE OR HEALTH AND SAFTY POSTER.

    GIVE ME MY FUCKING MONEY
    anonymous
  • i paid in full with my switch card back on july 3rd for a plasma tv . i have tried numorous times to ring only to be told they dont know anything . i think somebody some go to jail for whats happened can any body shed some light , are refunds gonna happen , are goods gonna be dispatched , or have i lost my money . HELP.
    anonymous
  • I have just spent my last pay from my last job totalling
    anonymous