Council criticised over Newry On Ice licence
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
NEWRY and Mourne Council has been criticised for not carrying out adequate checks into the company behind Newry On Ice - which has yet to pay its workers.
Last week it was revealed that Ice Skate City Ltd which ran Newry On Ice, left the city without paying over 30 workers thousands of pounds in wages.
SDLP Newry and Armagh MLA Dominic Bradley, who has been campaigning on behalf on the workers, said: "This whole debacle is a salutary lesson that proper checks need to be carried out on companies which engage with public bodies to ensure they are dependable and responsible, in order that we do not arrive at a situation like this again. I will be asking the Council to outline additional measures which they will employ in the future to make sure of that."
However the Council's Director of Administration, Eddy Curtis, said the correct procedures were followed when allocating the Albert Basin site to Newry On Ice.
Mr Curtis said: "Council checked Company House register which declared that Ice Skate City company was solvent.
“Council through its legal team issued a licence for the hire of the Albert Basin or any land. The licence contains all checks and balances to minimise the risk to Council. It should be noted that Newry and Mourne District Council has lost no finance due to this project."
Meanwhile Mr Bradley has welcomed an announcement by JC Campbell, Rostrevor that it will donate £100 from every vehicle sold in January towards the workers' wages.
Newry and Mourne Mayor Michael Ruane also praised the company's fundraising efforts, saying: "I am always amazed at the community spirit which is show in the Newry and Mourne area during times of crisis and I congratulate JC Campbell Ltd on their very generous offer during the month of January.
“The fundraising will alleviate the hardship for over 30 young individuals from throughout our district who were dealt such a severe blow during the Christmas period by the non-payment of their salaries by the Newry on Ice company."
Following the announcement on Friday, the Newry On Ice staff released a statement saying: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank a few organisations for the overwhelming support they have given to us since the realisation that we were not going to get paid for the long hours in the cold and rain that we endured over the Christmas period.
“This has been a cruel blow for all of us, especially the students who were really depending on this money for going back to college. We would like to thank Newry Trades Union for their quick interception when the news broke and also Newry and Mourne District Council in supporting us in finding a way forward to get what we are owed.
“It is with great generosity that JC Campbell, Rostrevor has offered to put £100 from every car sold in January towards the Newry Ice Workers unpaid wages. It is very comforting to know that there are people and organisations out there that are willing to help and guide us through trying to achieve what is rightfully ours and for this we are forever indebted and we will keep fighting until we get what we are owed."
Wage help welcomed
NEWRY and District Trade Union Council welcome the news that JC Campbell have generously come forward to generate a recovery of wages package for the young people left without pay by the company Newry On Ice.
The young people are delighted that they will receive the money owed to them, but remain determined to ensure this never happens to anyone else.
They would of course have preferred the company concerned to be held responsible and accountable for the wages owed, but are grateful at the generosity of JC Campbell.
They have set up a Facebook page 'Newry On Ice unpaid staff' to highlight this company who treated them in such a disgraceful manner and ensure that others are aware of the company directors.
Newry TUC have been honoured to support this group of determined young people during this campaign. For many of them it was their first step into the world of employment and it has resulted in an extremely unpleasant experience.
Newry and Mourne District Council has met with the young people throughout last week and are liaising with JC Campbell in co-ordinating the package to enable the staff to be paid at the start of February.
Peter Bunting from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has also sent a message of solidarity and support to the young people through the trades council.
Thanks also to the people of Newry who have got behind the campaign and showed immense support from the start.
Newry TUC intend to let every trade union council across Ireland know about this campaign to ensure the directors of this company never do this again.
Chairperson Newry and District Trade Union Council
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