JMF cries foul over 'industry agreement'
Jewellers revolt at industry agreement
By Coleby Nicholson
“Two old blokes” from the jewellery world have “kicked an own goal” all without industry consultation, says the head of the jewellery manufacturers federation.
In a statement to its New Zealand members last week, the Jewellery Manufacturers Federation chairman Greg Jones cried foul about an agreement to maintain a single industry trade fair and publication during a private meeting between JWNZ president Steve Crout and JANZ Executive Director and New Zealand Retailers Association Northern Regional Manager Russell Sinclair.
Jones also claimed the pair had actively worked to scupper plans for an industry-wide meeting to decide on such matters.
This latest episode in the long-running saga that continues to cause disharmony in the New Zealand jewellery industry surrounds a recent report by Crout in the JWNZ magazine Jewellery Time. Despite widespread calls for an industry-wide meeting, Crout’s report stated that he and Sinclair had agreed the industry should have a single trade fair and magazine.
Crout’s report indicated that he and Sinclair had settled on the arrangement, while the JMF and other industry organisations had not been consulted. Crout justified the lack of consultation by observing that both JANZ and JMF were members of the NZRA, which Sinclair represented.
The opinion didn’t appear to be shared by the JMF, however. Jones’ statement, entitled, ‘Jewellery manufacturers cry foul’, was emailed to members en mass, called for the two larger organisations to consider its views openly, rather than “rubber stamping decisions made behind closed doors.”
In particular, Jones took umbrage with the fact that decisions made at the February meeting of 18 representatives from eight jewellery industry organisations were ignored. Dubbed Jewellery Industry Forum, the meeting closed with an agreement to hold a second forum in the first half of the year.
That second forum never took place. Jones claimed that while attempts at convening members were made, Crout’s other commitments – including his wife’s birthday – delayed the second forum.
Meanwhile, the forum’s independent chair, Selwyn Pearson, was told in an email from Russell Sinclair that his services would not be required for a second meeting.
While there was unanimous agreement at the February forum for a second meeting of all eight industry associations, Crout and Sinclair met alone in Wellington in August. The two parties decided that a single trade fair, organised by the Jewellers and Watchmakers of NZ, and a single magazine, the JWNZ magazine Jewellery Time, would represent the industry.
As a member of the NZRA, Jones has attempted to seek clarification about the pair’s decisions from Sinclair, who has not responded. Nor has he replied to questions from Jeweller.
In his email to members, Jones expressed serious concern that by unilaterally making decisions without consultation, the pair was continuing to provoke further disharmony within the NZ industry.
“The NZ Jewellery industry has been fractured by past injustices and we now have the opportunity to have a meeting which involves all of the jewellery industry,” he said.
“We need a collective agreement on many issues affecting the New Zealand jewellery industry, including trade fairs, magazines, training and apprentices and not including other people or industry groups is not an acceptable. The forum was designed to include the whole trade.”
Jones insisted that the JMF must be involved in this decision-making, and criticised the fact that while Sinclair was making important decisions about the New Zealand jewellery industry when in fact he isn’t a jeweller and doesn’t work in the jewellery industry.
Sinclair is an administrative employee of the New Zealand Retailers Association (NZRA) and consequently holds the position of executive director of JANZ, a trade group within NZRA. JMF members are also members of NZRA.
“The JMF is a young committee who are keen to participate and this committee has been taken out of the game by two old blokes who are creating further injustice,” he wrote. “They may think this serves their own members well but I believe it does not. I am certain it misses the chance to heal our industry.”
On Crout’s part, he concluded his President’s Report with a swipe at Jeweller, claiming that since “all the larger groups’” representatives, including Russell Sinclair, Mark Beckett, Greg Jones and himself, had agreed to the decisions, “it seems difficult to understand the interpretations published in one overseas magazine.”
Crout’s comment appears to be contrary to Jones’ very public outcry. Jeweller contacted Steve Crout for comment. There was no response at the time of publication.
In an announcement late last week that seems at odds with Sinclair’s agreement with Crout about a single trade magazine, JANZ has endorsed a competing magazine to JWNZ’s Jewellery Time.
In an email on Friday to all JANZ members, trade executive Brenda Chalmers announced that JANZ had thrown its support behind Jewellers Trade magazine explaining that, “While you all receive a copy of the NZ Retail magazine we have never been able to offer access to a glossy monthly jewellery magazine. Our quarterly newsletter, Jewellery Post, has its place and serves a different purpose than a magazine.”
Chalmers explained she recently visited Sydney and met with the Jewellers Trade editor and her email went on to encourage JANZ members to subscribe to the magazine saying, “JANZ will be submitting articles [to Jewellers Trade] on a regular basis.”
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