EMPLOYEES at an Iceland store in north Dublin have occupied the premises after being told they were being ‘temporarily laid off’.
Staff in the Coolock branch turned up for work this morning only to find the shop closed, with three more of the chain’s 26 branches in Ireland also reportedly failing to open for business today.
It follows the appointment of an interim examiner to Metron Stores, which operates Iceland’s 26 stores in Ireland.
Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said staff had been treated ‘absolutely disgracefully’ and called on Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney to help those affected.
Yesterday’s appointment of an interim examiner by the High Court came a week after the Food Safety Authority of Ireland ordered Metron to immediately withdraw all imported frozen food of animal origin from its Iceland stores.
The court heard that Metron Stores Limited is insolvent and unable to pay estimated debts of €36m as they fall due.
According to RTÉ News, Metron emailed employees saying the store would be closed from midnight last night but that efforts were underway to reopen the outlet.
“Please be advised that at this time, it is with regret that we wish to inform you that your employment will be affected by the store closure and you will be temporarily laid off,” added the email.
However, some staff at the Coolock branch claimed they did not receive the email until after they had arrived for work and occupied the branch in protest.
The Irish Independent reports that gardaí were called but added that the occupation was legal.
‘No way to treat workers’
Mr Ó Ríordáin said it was a ‘crazy scenario’ that employees had turned up for work only to discover they no longer have a job.
“A ridiculous situation has occurred at Iceland stores across Dublin,” said the Dublin Bay North TD.
“Workers have been treated absolutely disgracefully by the company and it’s time for Minister Coveney to step up and get clarity for these workers.
“The business has gone into examinership and the store has effectively closed, but staff have not been told.
“They turned up for work this morning only to be told they have no jobs. This is an absolutely crazy scenario.
“My understanding is that Iceland stores across Dublin have been shuttered without any explanation to workers including shops on Talbot Street and Coolock.
“Minister Coveney needs to urgently find a pathway to consultation with these workers to ensure that they are not out of pocket in terms of wages owed and any potential redundancy payments they may be entitled to.
“This is absolutely no way to treat workers.”