On Tuesday, I said that workers at GAME must be treated fairly, after the computer game retailer dramatically closed its stores here and in the UK, with the loss of 121 jobs in the Republic.
It’s extremely worrying to hear reports this afternoon that GAME workers have been told they are to receive no redundancy or notice pay from the troubled company. There seems to be a disturbing trend emerging here, where firms in financial difficulty are reneging on their responsibilities with regards to their workers.
It is very disappointing to see retail chains taking this cavalier approach, and of course it has direct implications for taxpayers as well as the workers involved, as the State is left to pick up the bill. Sit-ins are already taking place at a number of GAME stores, as workers try to assert themselves against the will of the company and the administrators.
We saw recently in the case of La Senza when workers refused to back down, and eventually the administrators relented. So far, GAME workers have been treated appallingly. PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed as administrators, and I would urge them to work constructively with both management and workers at the company. Employees must get everything they are entitled to.
A dangerous precedent is being set for Irish retail workers, with a clear pattern emerging in recent months. It is completely unacceptable that a company can decide to shut its doors with no warning to staff, who now face the prospect of having no notice pay, and huge uncertainty over redundancy payments.
I have no doubt that the full mechanisms of the State will be made available to the GAME workers. It is now imperative that the administrators engage fairly with both sides to ensure the workers get what they deserve.