Mega bonuses fuel political fury

"The owners are appalling," Histadrut head says of the Mega chain executives.

Israeli Supermarket (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israeli Supermarket
Executives of the grocery chain Mega, to which a Lod court assigned a trustee this week after it tottered on the brink of collapse, have elicited harsh rebukes in recent days for taking hefty bonuses.
In Monday’s court proceedings, it emerged that Avigdor Kaplan, chairman of Mega’s parent company Alon Blue Square Israel, is due to receive a NIS 560,000 bonus and that former Alon Blue Square chairman David Wiessman sought NIS 1.3 million. On Tuesday, it became clear that Mega CEO Raviv Brookmayer, who has tried to steer the sinking ship during his six-month tenure, will receive a bonus of NIS 2 million.
Meanwhile, the fates of their remaining 3,500 workers remain in question, and suppliers have gone unpaid despite the company having cash on hand.
“I don’t know how the owners of Mega sleep at night,” said Knesset Finance Committee Chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) during an open house at the Knesset.
Joint List MK Dov Henin proposed a bill to make owners more accountable by linking them financially to their companies.
“It’s inconceivable that we’ll continue seeing owners emptying out the bank accounts of the business through inflated bonuses, and then when the business collapses because of their greedy management, they are protected and secure while the workers face an economic abyss,” he said.
The store’s 3,500 workers weren’t even sure if they’d be getting their paycheck for the month, he added.
According to Globes, Histadrut Labor Federation chairman Avi Nissenkorn called for the chain’s owners – Shraga Biran, David Wiessman and the kibbutzim – to be prosecuted.
“The owners are appalling,” he said, sparing Kaplan as “the only one who tried to save it.”
“They took out NIS 1.3 billion worth of dividends from Mega and its parent company.
They [the owners]...
simply emptied it out in a scandalous way. They took all the real estate and transferred it to the parent company.
They leased the real estate to Mega at outrageous rents that weren’t the market price without leaving it any of the fat and no money,” he said.
Globes contributed to this report