Source: Northern Ireland – City of Derry
14 August 2020
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, has invited the management of popular book chain Eason to meet with him to discuss serious concerns raised by staff since the closure of the Derry store in Foyleside was announced last month.
Cllr Tierney was speaking after a meeting with staff members and trade union representatives in the Guildhall, where the lack of engagement between management and staff was highlighted as a key issue.
Mayor Tierney said he would now be requesting an urgent meeting with the company, following the issue of an earlier invitation.
“I am very concerned at the way Eason have approached this matter, and their lack of engagement with long-standing staff members who have been dedicated for many years to promoting the success of their business,” he declared.
“The Eason store in Foyleside has long been a much valued retail outlet right in the heart of our city centre, and its loss will be greatly felt by local people, particularly as the schools prepare to go back in September and also in the run up to Christmas.
“Council has in recent months pledged to uphold workers’ rights and issued a letter to local businesses setting out this Council’s support of the Workers’ Rights and Social Justice agenda and our position in relation to the right to a national living wage, supporting good terms and conditions for all employees, and opposing the practice of Zero Hours Contracts.
“As part of that commitment I am standing with the staff of Eason and supporting their call for answers at this time of great anxiety for them and their families. I would call on the management at the store to meet with me as soon as possible to discuss the matter and seek a positive way forward.”
In a statement issued by the Derry Trade Union Council, DTUC Chairperson Niall McCarroll, said: “Due to declining profits, Eason Holdings PLC have not reopened their store in the Foyleside. Is this store not meeting targets, is it not making a profit? Derry Trades Union Council demand Eason’s open their books and answer these questions, questions which are of importance to not only local workers but the local community.
“Local workers face a consultation process, a process which will impact on their futures, their families and communities. Derry TUC believe these workers should not be isolated and that the future of the Eason Bookstore in the Foyleside should be a concern for us all.”
In July Eason told local staff members they would not be reopening their seven stores located across N. Ireland following the Covid-19 retail lockdown period, with the loss of 144 employees. A consultation period is now underway to consider the proposals for closure.