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Jobs axed and 10pc pay cut plan by Eason

BOOKSELLERS Eason have warned that at least 90 jobs at the group are under threat and all employees face a 10pc pay cut.

Three stores face closure next week with the loss of 40 staff and a further six would face closure from October 1 as part of cost cutting proposals being considered by management.

The proposals include a 10pc pay cut across all grades, a pay freeze and increased flexibility in rostering.

Redundancy would be paid at two weeks statutory pay plus two weeks pay for every year worked and capped at €50,000

The company wants cuts of €8.5m and expects to save €5m of this through redundancies.

The group employs 1,000 staff across 63 stores and has told unions and staff that it proposes using compulsory redundancies on a store-by-store basis to achieve savings. An Eason spokesman confirmed that the €8m savings were as part of a restructuring programme.

Under the new programme the firm would inject €20m to upgrade stores and IT systems.



BRANDS

"These discussions are ongoing," the spokesman said, adding that "everything is on the table" and if the unions could propose an alternative method of achieving similar savings, it would be considered.

Talks on redundancies and pay reductions are due to take place between management and the two unions, Siptu and Mandate, at the Labour Relations Commission on Tuesday.

Announcing the restructuring plan in March, managing director Conor Whelan said: "The retail environment in Ireland remains extremely challenging. The books industry alone has seen the closure of many of our competitors."

He pointed out however: "We are excited about our new retail strategy which will reinvigorate our brand and refresh our core product offerings."

Last year, Eason recorded year-end losses of €10m, down from €21m the previous year.

After an apparent breakdown in negotiations between management and unions, the company wrote to the unions outlining an alternative plan which would see a "store closure programme" beginning next Thursday, September 1.

csheehy@herald.ie


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