After a late night crisis meeting on Wednesday, the board of management of Ages and Stage Childcare have agreed to make redundancy payments to seven childcare.
The meeting came after a standoff at the creche following its closure at 6pm . The meeting was between Chairman of the Board, Frank O’Brien, and seven workers at the creche who had staged a sit-in.
The seven were requesting their statutory redundancy payments , a written letter confirming the termination of their employment and other paperwork surrounding the closure of the creche, which up to that point had not been forthcoming.
Tension had grown at the creche after workers and parents were informed on the 11 August that the creche would be closing do to ‘financial difficulties’.
These difficulties come despite the fact that the facility has received over €1.2 million in Pobal funding since 2006, and annual subvention for staffing cost that amount to over €100,000 per year.
Workers at the creche told the Dundalk Democrat that there had been no communication between the board of management and the workers over the period between 11 August and the stand off on Wednesday.
When the board learned of the planned sit-in they decided to close the doors two days earlier than previously stated.
Speaking on behalf of the workers, Evelyn Eccles had said that they had been told their was o cash for their redundancies.
Following the late crisis meeting on Wednesday, a representative of SIPTU outlined a deal that was struck to the workers.
“They have agreed in principal to meet the statutory redundancy package that we were seeking all along. Once we see it in writing and are satisfied we will sign off on it next Friday (6 September),” Ms Eccles stated adding that any outstanding issues will be addressed later down the track.
“While there is relief among the workers that a resolution has been reached, the reality is that we are now all unemployed.
“Many of us have young families and mortgages, so it’s been difficult.
“It was not right what we were put through over the last three weeks.
“If a new management team is brought in to run the creche, it is open for us to re-apply for new positions.”
Outgoing manager of the Ages and Stages, Tina Rooney, also lamented the loss of the jobs at the creche.
“It’s very sad for all the women. They’ve been through a lot and they were all great workers.”
Ms Rooney who is being made redundant herself and is pregnant, says financial difficulties that had been “looming for some time” where behind the closure.
In a statement issued to the Dundalk Democrat late last week , Bernie Furlong from Pobal stated:
“A number of processes are in train at present in relation to Ages and Stages Crèche and Pobal are engaging with all parties, including the local County Childcare Committee, on the matter.
Pobal hopes that a local solution can be secured and is continuing to assist that process.”