Target Express workers protest in Cork
Workers at a Target Express depot in Cork began a sit-in protest today over outstanding pay they say they are owed.
The company, one of the State's largest haulage firms, ceased trading yesterday with the loss of nearly 400 jobs. Managing director Seamus McBrien said the company had to cease trading as the Revenue had frozen its bank accounts and he could not pay his workers.
The 17 workers at the freight carriers’ Little Island plant said they will not release company vehicles or freight goods until their queries are met by company management.
Workers clocked in at the Cork plant as normal this morning, only to receive a call from management to inform them a receiver was due to visit the plant.
One Target Express employee, named John, told Cork’s 96fm that workers were owed two weeks' wages. “We are resolute in what we are going to do, we are not moving and will not be releasing any vans or trucks from the depot until we get answers,” he said.
He said the workers would engage with the receiver, but would be "dictating" their terms. “We have been told nothing, just that the receiver is coming down . . . we are owed two weeks' wages. We will tell the receiver exactly what is happening to us,” he said.
The workers said they would not leave until they had received outstanding pay, either an assurance about their jobs or a redundancy payment. They also said they would block all merchandise moving in and out of the depot.
Mr McBrien said the Revenue Commissioners’ rejection of a deal to clear €175,000 from an outstanding liability of €300,000 had forced the company to cease trading.
The vehicles at the depot include eight vans, three tractor units, two 16-tonne trucks and eight 7.5-tonne trucks.
Cllr Chris O’Leary (SF) described the treatment of the workers as "appalling" and said it was tragic nothing had been learned from the five-month long Vita Cortex campaign that ended last May.
“The Government has done nothing to protect workers from this kind of treatment. These workers can’t even get their P45s. But they are standing firm together - they are not going to give up anything until they get what they are entitled to,” he said.