FORMER staff of HMV in the Crescent Shopping Centre have been left without redundancy payments as the company entered liquidation just hours before their severance packages were due.
Four HMV stores were closed at the end of August, three in Dublin and one in Limerick.
Last week, the company reneged on their redundancy commitments to workers as it entered into liquidation.
Former HMV Limerick employee Robyn Long said the workers were promised they would receive their full redundancy on September 9. However, Larry Howard, the managing director of Hilco, the HMV owners, put the company into liquidation on the night of September 8.
“This was a premeditated act, a calculated and despicable move to deny us our dues. Now, we will receive nothing from the company. The staff of HMV have been let down once again,” he said.
Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins described the company’s move to use the protection of liquidation to evade its redundancy commitments as “unfair and unjust”.
“What happened is nothing short of scandalous. The State will now have to step in and provide basic statutory redundancy which, in some cases, may be considerably less than what they would have received if the company had paid them their redundancy,” said Deputy Collins, who is the party spokesman on jobs.
“The company made a commitment to their former staff, and simply decided to renege on it. This is setting a very bad precedent, which cannot be allowed to take hold. It’s clearly unfair and places a larger burden on the State.”
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has promised that his department will deal promptly with redundancy and insolvency applications from former employees of HMV when they are received from the liquidator.
“Employees who lose their jobs because of the liquidation of their company are entitled to statutory redundancy payments and to wage related payments due at the time of the liquidation,” he explained.
Anti Austerity Alliance councillor Cian Prendiville condemned the owners of HMV, describing their actions as “pure gangster capitalism”.
It seems Larry Howard and Hilco connived and conspired to lie to the workers to get them out the door, and then stabbed them in the back. The lesson for other workers is that they must be organised, and take action, like the HMV workers did when they occupied the store in a previous shutdown. We must demand changes in the law to prevent bosses treating their workers like this,” he declared.
by Alan Jacques