Anderson's textile empire continues to crumble
The collapse of Christchurch clothing company magnate Ken Anderson's business empire has had repercussions in Australia with the closure of his sock manufacturing plant in Melbourne.
About 60 former employees of Scallywag Socks face an uncertain future after Mr Anderson told staff via letter last week the operation was winding up.
Union officials estimate the staff are owed more than $A500,000 ($NZ623,822) in unpaid superannuation contributions, long service leave, wages and redundancy payments.
Mr Anderson said he intended to pay the worker's entitlements by instalment but Michele O'Neil, national secretary of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia, doubted that would eventuate.
"It's a terrible situation where they are low-paid workers owed a significant amount," she told NZPA.
Aware of Mr Anderson's difficulties in New Zealand, Scallywag's staff had continued working after assurances their jobs were safe.
"They were aware for a few months the company was in trouble but Ken Anderson told them they would be looked after," Ms O'Neil said.
"They were told the company would be sold, and then told they were losing their jobs on Tuesday."
Since Mr Anderson's flagship company Lane Walker Rudkin (LWR) went into receivership last April, owing Westpac Bank about $120 million, his portfolio has steadily diminished.
LWR's demise prompted a Serious Fraud Office probe, while Resport Ltd was placed into liquidation on March 15 in the High Court at Christchurch with creditors – including adidas New Zealand and Bank of New Zealand – owed an estimated $8 million.
Mr Anderson was also forced to offload sportswear chain Champions of the World to SportNZ last December after a supplier applied to liquidate the company.
Since LWR went into receivership, 236 jobs have been axed at its Christchurch headquarters.
LWR originally employed about 470 people at textile, hosiery, underwear and garment factories in Christchurch; garment manufacturers in Greytown and Pahiatua; a sock factory in Timaru; and a sports apparel factory in Brisbane.