23 February 2006



**How can it possibly be legal for a company to NOT pay workers for time already worked? As this company is US owned, cannot pressure be applied in that direction as well?

76 people out of work as TriVirix announces devastating jobs cuts

Damian McCarney

Anger gripped the staff of a Springfield Road company yesterday as management made 76 employees redundant with immediate effect.

A further 37 jobs remain under threat as the future for the medical device supplier, US-owned firm TriVirix International, looks perilous.

On Monday it was announced that the firm had gone into administration and yesterday afternoon the court-appointed administrator from Deloitte & Touche told approximately three quarters of the staff that they were out of a job.

As the staff filtered out of the building for the last time, some tearfully embraced as others milled about, bitter and angry at the company’s refusal to pay their wages in full.

It is understood that staff will only receive wages from the time that the administrator took control of the company. This means that staff who receive weekly pay will lose out on three days’ pay, while monthly-paid staff will miss out on three weeks’ pay.

Frank Fitzsimmons, a senior team leader with Trivirix, was disgusted at the announcement.

“This is absolutely ridiculous to have got to this stage and wages will not be going into the bank. People are depending on them and have to pay their mortgages.

“We are not getting our lying week, the week we worked, and holiday pay.”
A Trivirix senior manager, Jonathan Lowry, said that he had participated in bringing a substantial payment from a customer in the belief that the payment would be used for payment of salaries.

“A customer paid £201,000 up front in a cash payment. We believed that this would be used to secure salaries for everybody.

“We have been treated very badly – we have been kept in the dark for the last month. I am extremely disappointed to have put so much into getting the payment in.”

Sinn Féin West Belfast MLA Michael Ferguson said that the British government had failed in its responsibilities to both staff and the public.

“The government should underwrite the salary entitlements of the workforce that have been made redundant today, and they should work with the administrator and workers to protect this skills base and find another purchaser,” urged Mr Ferguson.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said he has spoken to the British Direct Rule Minister Angela Smith about the job losses and called on the British government and Invest NI to intervene.

“The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment along with Invest NI need to honour their responsibilities to the workforce, to West Belfast and indeed to the public at large.

“The British government and Invest NI need to work with the administrator and provide investment to sustain the plant and support the employees until a new owner can be found.

“If the direct rule administration is serious about regeneration in disadvantaged areas, then we must see a significant intervention now.”

Journalist:: Damien McCarney

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