Former GAME Ireland staff members are holding sit-ins in stores across the country to protest how their redundancies have been handled. All Irish staff members were let go after the video-game retailer went into administration this week.
In a statement posted on their Facebook page, former GAME Ireland staff members allege that Game Group had appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as administrators for its UK business but did not appoint any for its Republic of Ireland operations, in spite of the fact Game Group claimed PwC would act as administrators for its UK and Ireland operations.
The former employees say they have only been told to make a claim to the state for statutory redundancy entitlements and say they have not been given support in this. They say the process will take more than a year to complete.
“We believe GAME and PricewaterhouseCoopers are making us a burden on the Irish state and Irish taxpayer while avoiding their responsibilities,” wrote the former staff members in the statement.
“Employees have not been given any of the paperwork or information required to claim redundancy from the state. We were instead given information about UK redundancy procedures. We were informed that we would not be paid redundancy or any statutory or contractual notice periods or any outstanding leave,” they wrote.
They believe Game Group and PwC should pay ex-staff members the wages and entitlements they say they are due, including statutory notice and redundancy payments.
“GAME and PricewaterhouseCoopers can expedite these payments and allow staff to pay their mortgages and feed their families without having to wait as much as 16 months for their just entitlements,” they wrote.
PwC issued a statement last night over the concerns of Irish staff members, saying it would continue meeting with GAME Ireland managers over the issues.
“Senior personnel from PwC Ireland, on behalf of the UK administrators, this afternoon met with the store managers and the union representative in relation to the current situation. A further meeting is planned which may take place as early as tomorrow,” said a PwC spokesperson yesterday.
UPDATE: PwC UK’s joint administrators for Game Group’s UK and Irish operations Mike Jervis and Stuart Maddison issued a statement at 5pm today, saying that it will arrange a further meeting between employee representatives and administrator representatives.
“As a result of the administration of GAME Group plc, Gamestation Limited, Games Station Limited, Gameplay (GB) Limited, Game (Stores) Limited, Game Stores Group Limited and Game Retail (UK), all loss making stores in the UK and Ireland have been closed with immediate effect and unfortunately, all employees working in those stores are being made redundant,” said the administrators
“The Administrators have confirmed that wages for the month of March 2012 will be paid this week. A further meeting between representatives of the Administrators’ and employee representatives is being arranged,” they said.
GAME Limerick store staff at their sit-in (Source: Game Ireland protest’s Facebook page)
Earlier this week, Game Group said it would close 277 stores and lay off 2,104 staff across the UK and Ireland after it went into administration.
Game Group had 609 stores across the UK and Ireland. Fourteen are in the Republic of Ireland and 20 are in Northern Ireland. All of the Republic of Ireland stores are to shut down, while five Northern Ireland stores will remain open.
The retailer struggled with the operational requirements of the business with the current difficulties in the retail market. Its shares dropped to 1p earlier this month and the retailer was suspended from trading.
Along with these losses, Game Group also had difficulty stocking a number of new games from different publishers, including Mass Effect 3, which has become the highest-selling game in the UK this year so far.