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Guineys workers told: 30 years service? Sorry, no pensions

The employees found out about the shop closure after a phone call on Monday telling them not to come into work the next day.

Guineys & Co on Talbot Street
Guineys & Co on Talbot Street
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

WORKERS AT GUINEYS & Co on Dublin’s Talbot Street have been told it is unlikely that they will receive their pensions after the shop closed unexpectedly during the week.

The employees at the shop – who have worked for the company for 30 years on average – will instead be left solely with statutory redundancy payments.

A representative for the employees said that the company “had turned its back on the workers” and described what had happened as “deplorable”.

Some of the workers are believed to be approaching retirement age; one worker had been with the company for 39 years and several had followed their families into jobs at Guineys & Co and its sister store Clerys on O’Connell Street.

The employees found about the store closure by telephone.

“They went home from work on Monday evening and they got a phone call telling them not to come in on Tuesday,” said Michael Meegan of MANDATE trade union which represents some of the former employees.

Meegan said the new owners “have made it clear” that they’re not accepting liability for pensions for the 29 employees.

Guineys & Co was shuttered on Monday night after its sister store Clerys was placed in receivership. A private equity firm bought Clerys just hours later but Guineys & Co was not included in the deal and is now being placed into liquidation.

As well as the 10 people who worked in Guineys a further 19 people who worked at Clerys outlets in Naas, Blanchardstown and Leopardstown are also in the same position.

Michael Meegan said that the workers felt hard done by after events of recent years:

The frustrating part is that when Clerys owned it and it went through tough times financially, these employees cooperated. They took cuts in their hours, they took pay cuts, just in order to help Clerys and Guineys get back onto a reasonable footing.

But now even with all their efforts, the company has turned its back.

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Meegan said the employees are owed wages and some are also owed holiday money. It is likely to be after Christmas before they receive any statutory redundancy payments due to a backlog in processing payments.

A spokesperson for the company liquidators said it was up to the trustees of the pension fund to advise the staff.

The former employees are planning a protest outside Clerys at the start of October over the pensions issue.

Read: ‘It had everything from a needle to an anchor’: Shoppers remember Guiney and Co >

Read: Clerys taken over, saving 350 jobs – but Guineys is to close >

Read: So exactly WHICH Guineys is closing down? >

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