FORMER TARGET EMPLOYEES TO WAIT FOUR MONTHS FOR REDUNDANCY PAYMENTS

7 September 2012 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Michael McDonnell
michael@northern-standard.ie

The former employees at the Target Express depot in Clones, where 25 jobs were lost when the company ceased trading on Monday last, are hoping following a meeting with liquidators Grant Thornton that they will receive in the coming months their redundancy payments and minimum notice entitlements, as well as two weeks’ wages which had not been paid.
But truck driver Brian Mac Uaid, who spoke on behalf of 11 staff members who worked in the collection and delivery end of the operation in Clones, said there was no real optimism at present that any jobs would be saved as a result of some of the company’s assets being sold to Masterlink Logistics. The Masterlink sale was announced on Friday.
Mr Mac Uaid, who has been with the company for eight years, said the workers did not agree with former Target owner and managing director Seamus McBrien’s assertions that it had collapsed — with the loss of 400 jobs nationwide — because of the Revenue Commissioners’ insistence on pursuing an outstanding tax bill.
The former employees were of the view that Target was obviously in deep financial trouble in any case, Mr Mac Uaid confirmed.
Regarding last week’s meeting with a representative of liquidator Grant Thornton, the former Clones area county councillor said the employees had pointed out that they were owed two weeks’ wages and that each of them was also due varying amounts of holiday pay.
“NO MONEY WHATSOEVER”
But they had been told by the liquidator that there was “no money whatsoever” in the accounts of Target, and that their wages, statutory redundancy and minimum notice would have to be paid in due course by the State.
The payment of holiday entitlements had not been guaranteed, but it is understood that employees at branches around the country are hoping these will also be covered by the Department of Social Protection.
They had also been told that it would be at least four months before the payments were made, Mr Mac Uaid said. They were taking the liquidator at his word, however, and were reasonably confident that these monies would come through in time.
The workers had been sceptical from the outset about the attempts to blame Revenue for what had happened, Mr Mac Uaid added, and they were also unhappy at the way the company had given no signals in advance about anything being wrong — which meant nobody could make alternative plans in advance.
They had suspicions that things were not as they should be when there was no money to pay for diesel for the trucks on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the week before last — even though this was not the first time the diesel had run dry.
On the Saturday morning it was noted by employees that wages had not been paid into their bank accounts, and when they went to work on Monday of last week they were told by the company that this was because there was a problem with the bank.
It had emerged later in the day, of course, that the company had stopped trading after the Revenue Commissioners’ intervention.
On the potential buy-out by Masterlink, Mr Mac Uaid said there was no certainty at the moment as to whether all or part of the Clones branch of the operation would be taken over, or as to whether any jobs could thereby be saved locally.
He had personally emailed and contacted Masterlink on this aspect, but a …

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