Staff at Elverys Sports are “optimistic” ahead of a decision by the examiner, expected later this week, on the future of the company.
The examiner is currently considering up to half a dozen bids for the large sports chain, which is headquartered in Castlebar.
Staff at Elverys are, in the final days ahead of the announcement, continuing their campaign, SOS Elverys 700, which is calling for special consideration to be given to a proposed management buyout of the company.
According to staff, the management buyout option is the only bid on the table that they are aware of, which guarantees 700 jobs at the company, including almost 200 in Mayo, under current terms and conditions.
Diarmuid Byrne from Castlebar, a spokesperson for the SOS Elverys 700 campaign, said they met with the examiner, Simon Coyle, on Friday and were advised he is “fully cognisant of his responsibility in relation to jobs as part of the process.”
“Obviously the process is very confidential but we were advised job security was paramount in relation to the details the examiner was seeking from the other bidders,” explained Mr Byrne, who has worked at Elverys for 21 years.
“We are expecting a decision this week. We are remaining optimistic in relation to what that decision will be,” he added.
Well in excess of 25,000 signatures have been added to petitions in Elverys stores around the country and online in support of the SOS Elverys 700 campaign.
“Sometimes, in a situation like this, staff don't have a voice,” explained Mr Bryne of the campaign. “We wanted to have a voice so we created this campaign, which is being driven by staff independently.
“The public and people at large might hear examinership or receivership and assume the business is doomed but that isn't the case here. The company is viable and that's why there is so much interest in it.”
Caroline Malone Conroy is another long serving member of the Elverys team in Castlebar, having worked for the company for 27 years.
She said Elverys is like a “second home” to her.
“I started there straight out of school so I've worked there all my life. It's like a family. It has been a fast 27 years. I suppose that tells its own story in that a person has been very happy in their workplace,” she said.
“We are pleading with the examiner to please take our jobs into consideration when making his decision. Elverys has given massive employment, both full-time and part-time, down through the years, keeping mortgages and bills paid in many households throughout the country.
“The only solution we want is a management buyout because that team is guaranteeing retention terms and conditions on all of our jobs.”