Staff of a telecoms company have been left devastated after being told the business was closing and their jobs were gone — by text.
The former staff of Cork-based Get Connected, which closed suddenly on Tuesday, lashed out last night at company head Peter Michael Barnes for how he handled the closure.
Efforts to contact him yesterday were unsuccessful.
The 15 former staff, who say they are owed up to €30,000 in unpaid wages and holiday entitlements, said business had been quiet in recent months and there had been problems with the payment of wages for the last two months.
They said Mr Barnes assured them on Monday that, after planned talks with his accountant, wages would be transferred into their accounts later.
Jen Collins, who had worked for the Carrigtwohill firm since 2012, said she got a text from Mr Barnes the following morning announcing he was closing the company.
She said he cited “revenue issues”, apologised, and said he would pay the wages when “I get back on my feet”.
She had to break the news to her colleagues, some of whom broke down in tears.
Mr Barnes, who lives in Garryvoe, has not been seen since. Former employee Niamh Kavanagh said: “I, like the others, was relying on my wages after Christmas, and now I’m left with absolutely nothing.
“I’m devastated. I’ve spent the last two days on my laptop looking for a job. But even if I do get a job, I’ll be on emergency tax because we can’t get our P45s from him.”
Get Connected, as an operation, offered to analyse firms’ phone, mobile, and broadband use, with a view to offering better deals.
It operated as an independent partner of Vodafone and resold Vodafone products, similar to many independent agents across the country.
A Vodafone spokesperson said Get Connected is not, and never has been, legally owned, controlled, or governed by Vodafone Ireland, and any queries in relation to Get Connected’s closure should be directed to that company’s representatives.
It is understood Vodafone is among several creditors of the company, and is seeking legal advice on the matter.
Get Connected staff said responsibility for their situation lies with Mr Barnes.
Ms Collins praised Vodafone for its support, and said after the issue was aired on the Neil Prendeville Show
on RedFM yesterday, some job offers emerged.
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