Sunday 25 February 2018

Hopes of deal to save some HMV stores with Game group's talks

Ralph Riegel, Barry Duggan and Peter Flanagan

50 outlets may be bought but future of Irish business unclear

HOPES have been raised that some of HMV's stores may be saved after Game group expressed interest in the business.

UK-based Game, which was itself bought out of administration last April, said it had approached HMV's administrators Deloitte about a possible deal.

The computer games retailer is believed to be interested in around 45 of HMV's shops, however, it is not clear if it wants any of the company's Irish business.

Overall, Deloitte said it has received interest in 50 of HMV's shops.

Unlike the UK business, which is still operating through administration, the Irish arm has gone into receivership and has shut its doors.

That has led staff at stores in Ireland to take part in a sit-in over unpaid wages.

Yesterday a sit-in began at another store.

Staff at the music retailer's flagship Patrick Street store in Cork began a sit-in protest after gaining access to the premises.

The sit-in brings to three the number of Irish stores now occupied by staff who fear the loss of wages, overtime and holiday pay.

Over a dozen staff started the Cork protest after their colleagues in Limerick locked themselves into two stores – at the Crescent shopping centre and Cruises Street – since Wednesday.

Deloitte has been appointed receiver for the 16 Irish HMV stores and is in ongoing discussions with the redundant workers.

However, no agreement on outstanding wages has yet been struck.

In a gesture of solidarity, the HMV workers received a message of support last night from the Vita Cortex workers who last year maintained a seven-month factory sit-in in support of their redundancy claims.

Up to 30 redundant staff have spent a third successive night locked into the two Limerick stores.

The unemployed workers have vowed to remain on until they receive what they are owed.

Emer Walsh (39) from Caherdavin, Limerick has worked for HMV for seven years at their Cruises Street outlet. She said she is owed more than €3,000 in wages.

She said they felt betrayed by the manner in which the company had behaved towards them.

Ms Walsh said she and her colleagues are determined to fight for what they are entitled to.

"There is great camaraderie among the workers.

"We are friends, not just colleagues. I was last paid on December 21," Ms Walsh said.

"We worked very long hours over the very busy Christmas period and I estimate I am owed over €3,000 – which is a lot money," she added.

Manager Dearbhail Peters said the receiver is "proposing to pay them on the day we are due payment – next Friday".

Irish Independent

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