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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

Former Connaught Telegraph staff picket over pay dispute

The six former staff members say they are owed thousands by the company in unpaid wages and holiday pay.

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SIX FORMER STAFF members of the Connaught Telegraph who were made redundant in recent months are holding a protest outside the publication’s Castlebar offices today over unpaid wages.

The group says that the six are owed around €20,000 collectively in unpaid wages and holiday entitlements.

The six were made redundant when the newspaper outsourced its production operation.

One of those picketing today is John Mee, who worked at the paper for 30 years. He says the staff were working a three-day week for 18 months in an effort to help the paper meet its costs.

Mee says the workers “hammered out a deal” with management which would see them paid statutory redundancy as well as their unused holiday pay, but that the company has now reneged on that agreement.

“A lot of us made a conscious decision not to take too much holidays to save money for the redundancy, and the firm said they would honour the holiday pay.”

“We don’t want to shut the firm down, we just want to get our entitlements,” Mee told TheJournal.ie. ”We’ve come to the stage where we feel that we need to go on strike in the freezing cold.”

Claire Keane, regional officer of the UNITE trade union, says the company told the workers that their bank was now refusing to sanction the payments and they haven’t been paid for weeks.

“The company is paying for the outsourcing and for other staff; the only people being left with nothing at this point in time are the workers who had been working there for years,” Keane said.

The Connaught Telegraph could not be reached for comment today.

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