Staff at the businesses had contacted PrintWeek to say that all employees were told they were being made redundant a week ago, on Friday 16 August.
Later that day a list of 45 roles available at ‘The Bradley Group’ was posted at the firm’s Mallusk factory and on an online jobs board. The businesses had employed around 76 staff previously.
Managing director Peter Bradley said 60 staff were still working in the building, and the changes were effectively a continuation of the previous consolidation of operations when its Speke site was shut at the beginning of the year.
He told PrintWeek: “This is a restructure and streamlining of the business. We are dealing with increased costs, decreasing prices and a very tough market, with uncertainty because of Brexit. I can’t think of a tougher industry than printing at the moment.”
A number of employees returned to work on Monday (19 August), which Bradley said involved a “skeleton staff” so production was not interrupted while applications for the new roles were being processed.
“Some people put applications in straightaway and were accepted,” he said.
However, a number of employees said they had been left in limbo and were yet to receive their redundancy payments or the official paperwork necessary to claim unemployment benefits.
One of the workers made redundant said: “A week on and I’m still waiting for my P45 and totally in limbo. I don’t know what’s going on.”
Bradley said the situation should be resolved by Tuesday.
“The restructuring is happening and we are taking direction from an outside redundancy firm. We’ll be working this weekend to ensure the best solution for everyone.
“The first step was taken last Friday and Quinns will absolutely be fulfilling all their obligations. We have given the affected employees money this week to cover expenses,” he added.
Bradley said workers would now be employed by Bradley Group (UK). He said a new company, Bradley Group (NI), set up earlier this month, was a special purpose vehicle that could be used to buy the Mallusk building.
John Mcgrath, who became a director of Quinns Belfast (2009) on 14 August, is an “external investor”, Bradley said.
The Bradley Group also includes commercial printer Mannin Group on the Isle of Man, and has sales of around £14m.
Quinns specialises in online trade printing, while Nicholson Bass focuses on books, magazines and high-end print such as fine art work.
NOTE: COMMENTS ON THIS STORY HAVE BEEN DISABLED FOLLOWING A COMPLAINT.