Seventeen child care workers at a Limerick city creche continued a sit-in last night following the sudden closure of the private facility.
A company representative of the owners of Tic Toc creche and Montessori in Westbury informed the workers on Friday that the facility was ceasing to trade with immediate effect.
The parents of 66 children aged from six months to 12 years say they are devastated having been left ‘high and dry’. Most are working couples.
Some of the child care staff got a letter from the owners stating: “We have completed a review of the future income and unfortunately even though numbers of children are going up with the introduction of the extended pre-school year, the income is projected to go down.”
Rose O’Donnell, who has been working at Tic Toc for the past nine years, said they got the news of the closure on arriving for work at 7.30am last Friday.
She said: “We were all shocked. The parents are also very upset as they have to try and make alternative arrangements at short notice. We were offered cheques on Wednesday night, but we refused to accept them.”
Ms O’Donnell said they have received no paperwork regarding claims for redundancy. She said four staff members got letters on Thursday last telling them that the business was closing, but all others were not told until they arrived for work on Friday.
Parents are supporting the creche staff and have been bringing in food and water as the sit-in continues.
One parent, Sarah Kieran from Westbury, said: “Obviously, it is a very emotional upheaval because I have three children there, aged nine, eight and three. They have been with Tic Toc since I went back to work after maternity leave. The women in Tic Toc have helped me rear my children and to have that just pulled out from me overnight is a big shock.”
As well as the creche, Tic Toc also provided an after school service for older children.
Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan raised the sudden closure of the creche in the Dáil yesterday and condemned the manner of the closure.
She said: “It was very shoddy the way the dedicated workers and the parents have been treated, to get this news of closure without warning.
“I am now working to see what options there are regarding a private service provider coming in or getting a community service provider through one of the state agencies. Siptu are also working to ensure the workers rights are protected.”
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