COVID-19 is being blamed for a total of 13 job losses at McCauley Health & Beauty Stores in Wexford and Enniscorthy, as the chain has opted not to re-open its beauty salons.
While eight employees in the Wexford stores and five in Enniscorthy were given the news early last week, it seems that up to 20 more job losses could follow as the company is currently reviewing its operations, such as the store's photo bar and cosmetics counters.
In a statement last week, the company said that it was implementing a number of measures which aimed to combat the 'serious downturn in trading caused by the Covid-19 crisis'. Figuring highly in these measures was that beauty salons in store would not re-open.
'We are focused on working with and supporting affected colleagues at this time,' the statement continued. 'Our colleagues in the core pharmacy business continue to provide excellent service to patients and customers, as they have done throughout the Covid-19 crisis.'
While McCauley's was founded in 1953 at Rafter Street in Enniscorthy, it made the controversial decision to move its head office from Wexford to Dublin back in 2018.
Outgoing Chairman of Wexford County Council Michael Sheehan blasted the company and said he was 'disappointed' at the action taken.
'I've called on McCauleys to at least hold off for six weeks before taking this action,' he said. 'These are people that haven't worked since March and now all of a sudden, when they should be getting back to work this week, they receive a message after three months to say "thanks but no thanks" and their position is redundant. You cannot treat people that way. I would assume that some of these employees would have been on the government wage subsidy and were supported by public funds too, so the timing of this is unbelievable. It's an appalling way to treat staff, some of whom would have spent their working lives there.'
'I would have thought they'd give it at least a month or so to see how things go,' Cllr Sheehan continued.
'Then they could see if there's something there to be salvaged. I know that the likes of barbers, etc, are already taking advance bookings to cope with demand, so I'd assume that things could have been the same for the beauty salons. The last thing you'd want is to make people redundant facing into a recession.'
'The timing of this is completely tone deaf and the fact that this is a Wexford company makes it harder to fathom, particularly after the backlash from moving their headquarters out of Wexford. I'm really disappointed,' he said.