WORKERS who were made redundant from the JJB facility in Dundalk are now worried they won't get all the money owed to them under a Labour Relations Commission deal agreed out earlier this summer.
On Wednesday last, the Dundalk leisure centre and store closed its doors, along with three other JJB retail outlets and another gym, after a court-appointed liquidator failed to find a buyer for the Irish business, which employed 101 people, most of whom were part-time. Around 20 positions have been lost in Dundalk.
A former Dundalk worker said an agreement had been reached with the JJB company back in July that the 15% rebate companies receive back from the government when redundancies are given would be given to the workers under an deal reached by the Labour Relations Commissioner.
But the facility closed without any extra payments and workers are angry that cash they believe they are owed has not been paid. One former worker told the Argus that they have received no assurances from receivers KPMG that they will receive the money, which is ' badly needed coming up to Christmas'.
The former worker said: ' We received a letter explaining that JJB Fitness Club Dundalk would be closing from October 31, and along with that there was a Creditor Claim Form which all members recieved in relation to the possiblity of receiving monies that are owed to them by JJB.
'We were quite surprised to see that no documentation in relation to monies owed to redundant employees was issued'.
A statement issued on behalf of the liquidator said: ' Since his appointment on 1 October, the liquidator (Kieran Wallace) has been actively looking for a purchaser of the business. Regretfully, none has emerged from this process.
'Members of the leisure centres who have paid their fees in advance are now creditors of the business.
' The liquidator has asked that any members submit a claim for money due to them by the end of November'.
WIllie Hamilton from the trade union Mandate said on Monday he had received no reply from KPMG after he requested a meeting about the issue.
He said: 'None of this is good news for the workers, who were hoping against hope that someone would step in and take over the JJB business. Getting another job will be extremely difficult and every penny of redundancy counts for them, especially at this time of year'.
Meanwhile, a former JJB yoga teacher has wasted no time in getting back to work. Michael Magennis started his yoga classes at the Crowne Plaza yesterday (Tuesday). His classes are available every Tuesday at 11.30am and Wednesdays at 7.30pm. Michael would like all his former JJB customers to come to the classes, along with some new ones. Call 00447547795209 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.