Published Monday, 06 January 2014
Workers claim they haven't received payment from the company for hours worked. (© Getty)
Described as "real ice for real fun", the Newry on Ice Winter Wonderland at Albert Basin in the Co Down city offered seasonal entertainment and temporary employment for 37 young people, but ended up leaving its staff disgruntled and out of pocket.
Cara Malone, chairperson of Newry Trade Union Council said a group of young people had approached them and told them that the company had "packed up and left" without receiving any pay.
She said the whole employment process was not correct.
"The person who was dealing with the wages etc is now saying that she no longer works for the company," she explained.
Ms Malone said they haven't received wages from 15 December and that amounts workers are owed range from around £100 to £700.
She commented: "This is their first step into the field of employment and it wouldn't be correct to allow these young people to go unsupported and think that it's okay and acceptable to be treated in such a dismal manner by what seems to be an unscrupulous company.
"Some of them said they are still waiting to buy their families their Christmas presents."
The union rep said the young workers have been left very disappointed and said the council lent the land to a company which exploited local people in Newry.
The union is urging the council to intervene and pressure the company to hand over the money owed.
The company's Facebook page has received numerous furious comments from local people demanding they explain themselves, including local SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley.
Commenting on the matter, Mr Bradley said: "This is a disgraceful situation. There is a clear moral responsibility on the company to fulfil its obligations to all of its employees.
"My colleagues and I have made representations through the Newry and Mourne District Council to hold the company to account and help ensure the young people get what is rightfully due to them - the wages owed to them."
A protest will be held later outside the council offices in support of the workers.
In response to the incident, the council issued the following statement: "Newry and Mourne District Council is disappointed that the organisers of Newry on Ice have not honoured their commitments and the Council will be convening a meeting with the organisers in an attempt to resolve the matter."
© UTV News