Staff at Belfast Primark destroyed by fire to be paid 'until end of the week' but could be let go
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Staff at Belfast Primark destroyed by fire to be paid 'until end of the week' but could be let go

STAFF at the Primark store destroyed by fire in Belfast on Tuesday have been told they will be paid until at least the end of the week.

Usdaw, which represents all of Primark’s staff, confirmed that employees will be paid this week but uncertainty remains as to whether they will be kept on.

The union’s area organiser Michala Lafferty said that further discussions with the retailer will take place over the next few days to agree "what happens next".

She said: "Our members are extremely distressed and concerned as they now enter a period of uncertainty.

"The company has reassured me that the welfare and job security of the staff is their priority".

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Ms Lafferty confirmed that a "constructive meeting where the company confirmed all staff will be paid up until the end of the week".

She added: "Over the coming days further discussions will take place to agree what happens next week."

A spokesperson for Primark said: "Following the fire at our Bank Buildings store in Belfast, the welfare of our colleagues remains our most important concern and we are fully committed to supporting them during this difficult time.

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

"We are continuing to work with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of the fire. We would like to thank everyone for their amazing support during this very challenging time for all concerned."

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The five-storey store on Castle Street in Belfast city centre suffered a "structural collapse" in the wake of Tuesday's blaze and its inner floors have been reduced to debris.

The exterior of the 331-year-old building - which had been undergoing a multimillion-pound refurbishment - remains intact but a senior fire officer has warned that it too is at risk of collapsing.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) area commander, Aidan Jennings, said: "There is still a risk it could collapse and that’s why we have the cordons in place

"At the facade of the building you can see the structural damage and the collapsed and twisted steel but we can’t access that area because of risk of it collapsing."