West jewellers of Grafton Street to close after 290 years in business

Thursday 11 February 2010

Mandate Trade Union calling on management to settle redundancy with its three workers.

Mandate Trade Union has been informed that prominent jewellers, West of Grafton Street Ltd, is set to close after 290 years in business with the loss of three jobs. Mandate are highly critical of the fact that the company informed the media before discussing the issue with staff members or the union.
Despite having an official “closing down” sale during the past two months, in which it is estimated that a high volume of sales has been equivalent to one year’s turnover, the workers have still not yet been officially informed when they will be losing their jobs and exactly what type of redundancy they will expect to receive.
Mandate, which represents all of the staff in the jewellers, had requested on several occasions during the past few months to meet with the owner, Mr Joe Moran of Manor Homes and the manager of the store, Mr Robert Halpin, to discuss redundancy payments and procedures, however the company has so far been unwilling to engage in any discussions.
David Moran, Industrial Officer for Mandate Trade Union said, “We are all very frustrated and disappointed with the way in which the workers have been informed of their job losses. The three workers due to be made redundant have 93 years service between them and have given very loyal service to the company during good times and bad. It is extremely disheartening to think that an employer could treat their hard working and decent employees, who it must be added have helped to build the business up, in the way that West’s management has done to these workers.”
“As far as we are aware, management has only verbally mentioned to the workers that they will receive statutory redundancy of two weeks pay per year of service. This is despite claims by staff working at the frontline that the company is financially comfortable and can afford to pay much more.”
Mr Moran added, “Having said that, we are still not in a position to confirm whether or not this employer will even go through the correct channels of redundancy procedures and the staff could be left waiting for their payments for several months as has been the case in other retail employments of late.”
Mandate also confirmed that they had attempted to resolve health and safety issues during the last few months with West of Grafton Street, but the company was again unwilling to engage with the workers representatives.
“The workers have shown us photographs of appalling work conditions which we sought to have addressed with management. The pictures are genuinely like something from a third world shack and not a respectable jeweller on one of the most expensive retail streets in Europe.
“In the interests of the staff members involved, and out of respect to the service they have provided to the business over several decades, we are calling on management at West’s to engage with Mandate as quickly as possible so we can reach some sort of amicable agreement for all concerned,” concluded Mr Moran.