Over half the workers at the Arnotts stores on Henry St and Boyers on North Earl St in Dublin city centre are to lose their jobs, Mandate trade union said this afternoon.
Talks are being organised to discuss the plan to make around 580 workers at the two stores redundant in order to make way for the construction of the new €750-million Northern Quarter development.
It's a sad day for a lot of Arnotts' and Boyers' loyal staff who've given years of loyal service to the company and its customers.
Mandate assistant general secretary, Linda Tanham
Redundancies had been expected and last month an unconfirmed figure of 400 was reported. The scale of today's figure was not expected and Mandate assistant general secretary, Linda Tanham said most of the redundancies will be compulsory.
"It's a sad day for a lot of Arnotts' and Boyers' loyal staff who've given years of loyal service to the company and its customers. The development of the Northern Quarter is coming at a huge cost to these workers and their families," Ms Tanham said.
In a separate development, An Bord Pleanala has deferred it decision on the planning application due to volume of work and has not set a new date for its adjudication.
An Bord Pleanala said the deadline had been put back due to the volume of work, with a new date not yet fixed.
"I don't see that decision being made this week and I don't see it being made next week under any circumstances. I don't see anything happening for the next five to seven working days," a spokesman said.
Labour TD for Dublin Central Joe Cotello said the company should put a stay on the redundancy plan pending the outcome of the board's deliberations.
He said the stores were "historic and landmark retailers" drawing many of its staff from the north inner city. "The loss of so many jobs in one fell swoop will have a devastating effect on employment in an area where unemployment is traditionally very high," Mr Costello said.
The redundancies do not include those working the concession stands at Arnotts, and the overall figure is likely to top 600.
Boyers will close at the end of June and reopen in August as Arnotts at Home dealing mainly in furniture. Arnotts Henry Street store will close at the end of August when construction of the Northern Quarter is due to begin.
Over 900 people are employed at Arnotts and those retained are due to transfer to the nearby Debenhams store in the Jervis Street Centre, which will be re-branded following its purchase by Arnotts last year.
A spokesperson for the company was not available at the time of writing.
The Northern Quarter is due to take three years to complete, opening in 2011 with a larger store employing 1,000 people.
The 650,000-sq ft development is to be built on a 5.5-acre site between Middle Abbey St and Henry St. It is due to comprise of 47 shops; 17 cafes, restaurants and bars; a 149-bedroom four-star hotel and 175 apartments.
An Bord Pleanála this week deferred it decision on the planning application due to volume of work and has not set a new date for its adjudication.
"I don't see anything happening for the next five to seven working days," a spokesman said.
Eight parties have appealed planning permission for quarter, including An Post, An Taisce and the Rail Procurement Agency.
Fine Gael Enterprise spokesman Leo Varadkar was also dismayed at the scale of the job losses.
"This is a terrible blow for the staff and for Dublin as a whole. Although job losses had been expected for some time, no-one expected that the lay-offs would be this significant," he said.
Those laid off be given preference when the company starts hiring again on their current terms and conditions, he added.