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"It's ridiculous": Ex-HMV staff left waiting for pay as company goes into liquidation

One staff member said they were told they would be paid today, but the liquidation occurred yesterday.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

FORMER HMV WORKERS in Limerick say they were told they would receive redundancy payments today – only to find out this morning that the company has gone into liquidation.

This means they will be waiting for the State to pay their redundancy, which they fear could take months.

HMV’s stores closed down in 2013, but after the company was bought out by Hilco Capital, a number reopened.

The Limerick store closed at the end of August.

It’s understood the liquidation announcement affects a number of HMV Ireland stores.

The staff, some of whom had been involved in a sit-in when HMV closed a number of stores in 2013, received a letter from the company telling them that they would get paid today, said one former staff member, Olivia Chau.

“Then they went into liquidation last night,” she said, adding that she found out this morning from another former colleague. She was subsequently contacted by the company, who told her that the stores have gone into liquidation and that staff can apply on 26 September for their redundancy pay.

“Everyone is broke and a lot of us have already gone to the dole office and signed up, but for the people who were depending on that money to pay rent or mortgage this month, they won’t have that money,” she pointed out.

“In the meantime, what can you do? It’s just ridiculous.”

Thirteen staff in the Limerick store are affected by the decision.

In a statement, Hilco Capital, which bought HMV in a reported €59 million deal in 2013, said:

All employees entitlements such as holiday pay and redundancy are protected by the state, and claims will be progressed as soon as a liquidator has been appointed.

“They are a big business,” pointed out Chau.

“Hilco is a multi-million dollar company, so for them not to give us redundancy… we are disappointed once again to be let down when we were promised something and we didn’t get it.

We all loved working for HMV but we were so disappointed that it closed again and that they couldn’t make it work, even though all the English and Canadian stores are in the profit now. We were a profitable store, we were very busy. People still like to buy CDs and DVDs.

HMV closed in 2013, only to reopen a number of its stores.

When the Limerick store closed in 2013, staff – including Chau – held a sit in. “They [had] decided ‘we are closing down, everyone has to get out of the store and you have to hand over the keys’,” recalled Chau. “We were like, no, we’re not leaving. It was the end of January and we hadn’t got any of our wages yet.”

Following the sit-in, the staff were paid.

Limerick councillor Cian Prendiville has condemned the owners of HMV, saying:

“The lesson for other workers is that they must be organised, and take action, like the HMV workers did before in occupying their shop. We must demand an end to this and [bring in] changes to the law to prevent bosses treating their workers like this.”

Read: HMV reopens its first store on Henry St, Dublin today>

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