Over the last two weeks, the ex workers of Game Ireland have been protesting against the treatment we received from Game/PWC when we were informed of our store closures on the 26th March. We have held sit ins in 11 of our stores seeking our legal entitlements, including proper notice, redundancy, and wages owed.
We have had wonderful support from our local TDs, Councillers, and Senators. We have had the opportunity to have our case spoken about during a Topical Debate in the Dail. This not only highlighted our plight, but also brought up the issue of UK Companies trading in Ireland, being allowed to close up their operations in Ireland and force their employees to claim their redundancy from the state whilst they remove their assets to the UK.
The Minister For Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Joan Burton was also contacted and visited one of our sit in protests in Dawson St Dublin, where she spoke with the managers and staff about their issues and gave some advice on how to get their entitlements paid to them as speedily as possible.
Regrettably, we now find ourselves having to make a very hard decision, for the benefit of all the people still involved in the protests. We are mindful that many of our people have very young families and are single parents, and asking them to engage in protracted protests is interfering with their efforts to care for their families. Due to the current constraints of Irish law, we feel we cannot achieve anything more than we have for our people, and cannot in good conscience ask them to continue protesting to their own detriment.
As a result of our actions we have forced PWC UK to appoint PWC Ireland to process statutory redundancy paperwork for our staff. Whilst we have always maintained it is GAMEs' responsibility to pay us our legal entitlements, we will still be forced to recieve our payments from the Irish government, which we feel is unfair. However, the appointment of a proper Irish agent to process our entitlements will mean our people will receive their statutory payments in a shorter timeframe. Our full time staff have now been paid their due wages, with part time staff being paid 2 of their 3 weeks wages owed. The final weeks wages have been scheduled to be paid on the 20th April.
We never could have gotten this far without the support of the people of our local areas, and nationwide, who stood by us, encouraged us, fed us, lobbied for us, and simply came to talk to us in the stores. Especially we want to thank the workers of Vita Cortex and La Senza who inspired us, visited us, and helped us see there was a reason to fight. We would also like thank all the local politicians who came to visit out stores and brought our fight to the attention of the Dail, particularly Caoimhghin O'Caolain, Sean Crowe, Kieran O'Donnell, Claire Daly, Joe Higgins and Richard Boyd-Barrett. We owe thanks to more people than we can mention here, but you are in our hearts forever. You all have given us strength, courage, and reassurance that it is right to stand up against injustice.
This will not be the last time that you hear of a foreign business shutting down its' operations in Ireland and abdicating responsibility for its' employees. The legislation in Ireland must change otherwise the fate of employees of companies like Talk Talk, La Senza and Game Ireland will happen to more and more young Irish people. So, we would like to ask that all our supporters continue to lobby your local politicians to have this changed now, before we put any more financial burden on this already economically challenged state.
Ex Game Workers.