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Computacenter bosses sacrifice pay in solidarity with workers

Leaders of the channel giant decide to go without pay for the next three months to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with furloughed staff

At this crucial time, the actions of employers towards their staff will either win them friends or be long remembered for the wrong reasons.

Liverpool Football Club had to reverse its decision to furlough staff after an outcry from fans and the Premier League in general has come in for heavy criticism for its decision not to stand by some staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Not so the bosses at Computacenter, who have decided to go without their salaries to show solidarity with furloughed staff.

Mike Norris, CEO, and Tony Conophy, group finance director, have elected to reduce their base salary to zero from 1 April 2020 until 30 June 2020.

The firm described the reason for the move as “showing solidarity with staff that have been furloughed across the business”.

Computacenter’s founders, Philip Hulme and Peter Ogden, have waived the basic fees due to them as founder non-executive directors from 1 April 2020 until 31 December 2020.

The channel player went into the start of the coronavirus outbreak with a strong set of results under its belt and was one of the first to reveal that the shift by workers to set themselves up at home had caused a surge in laptop demand.

Although the last month has seen a spike in demand for any technology that enables home-working, some in the channel have shared concerns that other projects have been impacted by Covid-19.

“Clearly, the first priority has been to keep people connected and working and now has been the time for other projects,” said one channel director.

The government has set up a scheme to help employers support employees who are not able to work because of the coronavirus.

Under the scheme, if an employer tells staff it is “unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (Covid-19)”, and the workers are kept on, then they go on furlough.

Under the scheme set up by the government, workers could be paid 80% of their wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

Liverpool Football Club found itself in a furore last weekend when it announced it would follow the examples set by Newcastle, Tottenham, Bournemouth and Norwich to furlough some non-playing staff.

Given the wealth of football clubs at the top tier of the English game, the backlash was swift and substantial and Liverpool reversed the decision yesterday, apologising to fans.

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