Unpaid ex-worker also faces eviction

A former Target Express truck driver fighting to secure unpaid wages is facing eviction tomorrow unless he can come up with the rent.

Paul Tackle, 43, who lives with his wife and children in Kilworth in North Cork, is one of the 18 former haulage firm employees occupying the company’s Cork depot in Little Island.

They are among almost 400 Target workers who lost their jobs on Monday when the company ceased trading after Revenue moved on the firm over unpaid taxes.

The men occupying the Cork depot say they are owed at least two weeks’ pay and holiday pay, and will continue their sit-in until they get what is owed to them, including redundancy payments.

However, because Paul has not been paid for almost a fortnight he is now in rent arrears.

He, his wife Josephine, and their children, Ethan, 14, and Ciara, 10, who has special needs, are now facing a nightmare scenario after their landlord said the outstanding €900 rent must be paid by tomorrow.

“It’s a very stressful situation. I haven’t slept for two nights, worried about my wife, Josephine and kids,” said Paul.

“I feel I’ve let them down. It’s up to me to provide a house for them. But I feel let down by the company.

“We have no P45, no nothing. We’re in complete limbo. I just don’t know where we go from here.”

Paul and his colleagues spent their second day yesterday occupying the Little Island depot waiting for contact or clarification from Target’s owner, Seamus McBrien.

“We are in a state of both limbo and penury,” the workers said in a statement.

“We have no choice but to occupy the plant. We simply have nothing to lose at this point.”

The workers laid the blame for the company’s closure squarely at Mr McBrien’s feet.

They accused him of misrepresenting Target’s finances and said a complex web of companies, all owned by various members of McBrien’s family, has muddied the waters.

They said there have been delays in wage payments, that a redundancy cheque bounced, and that there is a large unpaid diesel bill from the Cork depot.

Cllr Chris O’Leary of Sinn Féin said there had been an outpouring of support for the group.

Labour TD Ciaran Lynch visited the depot and said: “Target Express has a duty of care to their workers and it is not acceptable that staff have not been kept informed. These workers have families to care for and bills to pay and they need to know where they stand with their jobs and their wages.”

Some of the men began signing up for social welfare benefits yesterday and drew up a rota to maintain the sit-in. “We are appealing to the Government, public representatives, and the general public to get behind us in order for us to get our due entitlements,” they said.

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