– I am among those at Elkjøp Jessheim who have worked the longest in the chain. That’s why this came as a shock, says Ellen Hoenvoll.
The kitchen consultant holds the large cup of pitch-black Starbucks coffee with both hands.
She remembers back to January this year when she learned that her workplace was going to downsize due to failing sales.
– I have been loyal
The 42-year-old took the news with crushing calm.
She had, after all, worked at Elkjøp for 23 years, been a department manager and been named the department store’s best salesperson several times.
She hadn’t imagined in her wildest imagination that the cuts would hit her.
But she could be so wrong.
– I thought I was safe. I have been loyal to Elkjøp and done a good job.
– Now I just feel stupid. That I didn’t understand that it was me they were looking for, she says.
Since June, Hoenvoll has been on sick leave from his full-time position in the kitchen department in Elkjøp Jessheim. She struggles with anxiety and depression.
[ Trine dro hjem til Norge da hun fikk kreft. Så oppdaget hun tabben hun hadde gjort ]
Had to borrow money from parents
When companies are downsizing, certain rules must be followed. Among other things, employees must be invited to individual discussion meetings with the management.
Hoenvoll attended such a meeting on 23 January. Then and there the long-standing Elkjøp employee was offered NOK 200,000 if she resigned herself.
If that was not applicable, she could choose between a 50 percent position in the warehouse and in the till at the Jessheim branch or a full-time position in the newly opened store in Bamble, about three hours by car from home.
Completely out of the question, thought the 42-year-old. She has a large mortgage and has to work full-time to make ends meet. And with a son living at home (20), commuting or moving to Bamble in Vestfold and Telemark is not an option either.
– I don’t see it as a real offer. Recently, I have even asked mum and dad for money to be able to pay my loan.
[ Nå blir også folk i full jobb fattige i Norge ]
Burst into tears
When she came inside the door at home after the discussion meeting with the management, she collapsed and started to cry.
– It’s rubbish to be treated like that. It’s like they’ve kicked me down a hole, tossed me aside like trash.
The 42-year-old becomes silent, blinks a couple of times and raises her index finger to the corner of her eye as if trying to hold back tears.
Elkjøp’s HR director, Jan Erik Aaserød, claims that they based the downsizing on employees’ seniority, competence and social conditions. Read the interview with Aaserød further down in the article.
[ Fikk du ikke jobben? Her er Stians tips til hva du kan gjøre annerledes ]
Watching Elkjøp from the balcony
Well over a week after the discussion meeting, one of the bosses called Hoenvoll on the doorbell. The 42-year-old was told to come down to the exit door.
If not, the boss would put a letter in her mailbox. She went downstairs and accepted the letter. It was a written resignation.
– I stood there shaking and thought “you’re messing with me”. And then I was blown away. I was pissed off.
“The reason for the dismissal is: Downsizing and reorganisation”, is written in black and white in the notice of dismissal which is in front of her on the cafe table.
From the balcony at Ellen Hoenvoll’s home, she has a view to the back of the Elkjøp building in Jessheim. The proximity to work was crucial when she bought the apartment two years ago.
Before she moved to Jessheim, she lived in Magnor and commuted three hours every day to and from work. In the end it became too tiring. But now the once longed-for proximity to work has become a burden.
– I loved that view. I used to joke around with my colleagues and send them smoke signals. Now I always have the curtains. I’m also not looking forward to barbecue season on the balcony.
[ Sjefen sendte Joakim og Frid grove e-poster i fylla: – Helt sykt det han skriver ]
– Employees have feelings
When downsizing in companies with collective agreements, the principle of seniority is strong. This means that those who have worked the longest can keep their jobs.
13 Elkjøp branches have collective agreements that give employees with long driving hours stronger protection. There is no collective agreement at the department store in Jessheim.
Eight man-years have been lost at Elkjøp Jessheim in the downsizing, informs Elkjøp. Around 200 employees throughout Elkjøp are affected by the process.
Hoenvoll knows of several colleagues with long working hours at Elkjøp who have also lost their jobs.
– The fairest thing is that those who were hired last go first. Many of those who work in Elkjøp are 18–19 years old and live in the boys’ room. They can afford to lose their jobs, but many of them have been allowed to continue.
For 23 years, Hoenvoll has thrived in Elkjøp. She has been called mum Ellen because she cared, baked cakes and buns at work for colleagues, says the kitchen consultant. But now that’s enough. The 42-year-old does not want to return to the electronics chain.
– I don’t usually stick out, but I do now. It’s because I don’t want more people to experience this. I don’t want people to have a workplace like that. Now Elkjøp has to clean up.
– We employees are people with feelings.
[ Pizzakokk slår alarm om Olivia-restaurantar: – Du blir straffa for å seie kva du meiner ]
Elkjøp responds to the criticism
Elkjøp’s HR director Jan Erik Aaserød admits that the downsizing has been demanding.
– It has been tough for those of our employees who were affected and demanding for the company to make a decision that has been absolutely necessary to ensure a sustainable economy, several thousand jobs and our position as market leader, writes Aaserød in an email.
He claims that the downsizing has been carried out in line with Elkjøp’s procedures.
– Our procedures have been thoroughly followed in this restructuring process with an overall assessment of seniority, competence and social conditions, writes Aaserød in an email to HK-Nytt.
He adds that there will be cases where one of the criteria does not count the most on its own, but in conjunction with each other based on different needs in the shift plan and in line with customer traffic.
– During this process, we have had to ensure that we have enough employees, with the right mix of skills, at work during the day, evenings, weekends and in high season, he writes.
[ Dette er nytt i årets skattemelding ]
HK-Nytt has sent the Elkjøp management all the allegations that Hoenvoll has made, but they have chosen not to comment on them beyond what you can read in this article.
Ellen Hoenvoll is upset that she, who has worked at Elkjøp for 23 years, has received a dismissal and claims that colleagues with shorter seniority are allowed to continue in their jobs.
Jan Erik Aaserød responds to the criticism by saying that employees have been offered part-time positions at Elkjøp Jessheim and full-time positions at one of the other stores.
– In the process, there are stores where employees have refused a lower job fraction, as at the store in question in this case, writes the HR manager.
Three weeks after the interview, Ellen Hoenvoll calls. She has big news: Now it’s finally over. She has entered into a final agreement with Elkjøp and has decided not to proceed with the case. And then she got a job as an on-call assistant at a nearby hotel.
[ Monica ble politi – broren Roy ble beinhard kriminell ]
[ Hun var uføretrygdet og uten jobb i årevis. Så kom telefonen som endret alt ]