Clubmarket Trustee Managers Dismiss Several Senior Staffers

Clubmarket, the troubled supermarket chain currently under court protection from its creditors, has dismissed several senior staffers, including four area managers.

The managers, who were asked to vacate their desks yesterday by the firm's vice president for operations, were Reuven Mano, Benny Rosenstein, Nehama Mana and Eldad Shoham. They were joined by deputy VP Doron Rafaeli and Dan Taro, who served as buildings manager.

All of those dismissed worked under the leadership of Arik Levinson, who was the vice president for operations until last month, when he was sacked only days after the court appointed trustee managers to run the company. Levinson was the second most senior staffer to leave the company since its troubles became public; former CEO Yaakov Ginsburg resigned.

The latest round of dismissals has not been well-received, and the workers immediately appealed to the Tel Aviv District Court to cancel their firings. The six claimed that dismissals were carried out for ulterior motives and because they were close to Levinson.

In their appeal to the court, the workers said that the cost of their employment at Clubmarket reached NIS 120,000 a month, and while they understood that the trustee managers were trying to cut costs for the chain, which is struggling under debts of NIS 1.3 billion, they believed that their dismissals would ultimately cost the company millions of shekels in lost revenue.

"Dismissing such senior staffers, days before the company's sale, is superfluous and in effect dictates to the potential buyer the team of senior staffers that he would be forced to work with," their suit said.

The trustee managers, Gabi Trabelsi and Shlomo Nass, have invited offers to buy the chain, and apparently more than 10 parties have expressed interest in Clubmarket, the third largest retail chain in the country. The managers are hoping for bids of at least NIS 500 million for the struggling company.