Primark will pay Belfast staff “until end of the week”

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The Union of shop, distributive and allied workers (Usdaw) has been in talks with Primark over staff pay for workers in Belfast in the wake of Tuesday’s fire at its flagship store.

The fire destroyed the Grade-listed building which was originally built in 1787, bringing down the roof and all five floors.

Primark had used the building as their flagship store in Northern Ireland since 1979.

No one was injured in the blaze, which firefighters worked through the night to control, to avoid spreading to the surrounding retailers and buildings.

“I want to pay tribute to the bravery of the Northern Ireland firefighters who put their own lives at risk to save others,” said Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis adding, “thankfully everyone was evacuated safely yesterday and no-one was hurt.

However, in the wake of the fire, Primark now faces questions over pay and job security from its 450 staff at the city centre branch.

“Our members are extremely distressed and concerned as they now enter a period of uncertainty,” said Usdaw area organiser Michala Lafferty.

“Today we had a constructive meeting where the company confirmed all staff will be paid up until the end of the week. Over the coming days further discussions will take place to agree what happens next week.”

“The company has reassured me that the welfare and job security of the staff is their priority,” Lafferty added.

A Primark spokesman added, “the welfare of our colleagues remains our most important concern and we are fully committed to supporting them during this difficult time.

“The management team in Belfast are meeting their colleagues over the next few days to provide them with the necessary support and information.”

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