One of Denmark’s wealthiest businessmen is facing angry workers who think his Jysk home furnishings company is using the financial crisis as an excuse to make unnecessary cuts.
Lars Larsen, known as the Duvet King thanks to the popularity of his stores specialising mainly in bedroom furniture and accessories, enjoyed a successful year last year, with Jysk rounding out 2008 with 254 million kroner in profits and his personal fortune growing from 63 to 756 million kroner.
But now the HK union has brought the case to the arbitrary labour court on behalf of workers at the 93 Danish Jysk stores, who were told that there would be no salary negotiations this year because of the financial crisis. Employees were also told there will be less money for social arrangements and no more company Christmas presents.
HK spokesman Kim Jensen told Business.dk that the move was a violation of the employer’s contract, which gives workers the right to a salary negotiation.
‘He’s a real Jutland shyster, who doesn’t want to pay any more for the goods than he has to and in this case, the goods are unfortunately our members,’ said Jensen, referring to Larsen.
Jysk spokesman Jonas Schrøder said that despite the company finishing last year on a plus it is necessary to initiate cost-saving measures.
‘Jysk has had success, but we want to stay that way so we have to be competitive. All around the industry there have been many cutbacks and layoffs,’ said Schrøder.