FORMER staff at a landmark store which closed down after 38 years have spent their first night sleeping on the shop floor as part of a sit in.
Thirty staff from Ivan's Shop in Caherdavin in Limerick have occupied the store as they claim they are owed wages and redundancy pay.
Some of those involved in the sit-in have worked at the shop for nearly 30 years.
Workers claim pay cheques paid last Friday were not honoured and they have not been issued with P45s, which they need to be able to claim social welfare.
Ivan Cremins, founder and managing director of the business, last night insisted all staff would receive full entitlements.
But staff said the sit-in would continue until they received the documents they require.
Mr Cremins added he and his family were "devastated by the sad turn of events" and said that "whilst trading conditions had been extremely difficult for some time, that the pressures that necessitated eventual closure last Sunday were sudden and unplanned". He said that he and the Cremins family regretted the shock and inconvenience that the closure caused staff.
"They can be assured, and have been assured, that they will receive all their entitlements and the necessary arrangements are being made to put this in place" he said.
Staff were informed of the closure at 7.55pm last Sunday, five minutes before the shop was due to shut for the evening.
A notice placed on the window on Monday morning blamed the closure on "hard economic times".
Staff began their sit in at 9am yesterday and blankets were brought in for their first night sleeping on the shop floor.
"We are here for the long haul and determined to stay until we get what we are entitled to," said 60-year-old Mary Sheehy, who has worked at the shop for the past nine years.
"We were taking orders and payments for cakes up to Sunday.
"We had no idea this was coming and we want to apologise to customers."