Northern Ireland Phones 4u employees await redundancy news

By Neil Logan

Employees of Northern Ireland branches of Phones 4u today learned that all of the 500 stores across the UK would be closed after the chain went into administration.

Approximately 5,600 employees of the company are awaiting redundancy news after the firm lost two important contracts with network EE and Vodafone. The withdrawal of those two suppliers has left the position of Phones 4u untenable, with the added blow being that there is in essence no business model that can be sold on. The fallout with Vodafone is said to have come about as a result of failed contract negotiations during which they say the owners, BC Partners, failed to propose viable competitive distribution terms.

The closure of the Northern Ireland and UK stores was swift and sudden, and employees are now awaiting confirmation of whether they will receive outstanding wages among other redundancy details. Employees in some areas have received something of a lifeline after Dixons Carphone said they are prepared to offer hundreds of positions to former employees of Phones 4u.

The demise of Phones 4u highlights the fragile position that companies can find themselves in when their operations are based on a small number of large contracts. The loss of two contracts in quick succession has resulted in the closure of a company making profits of £100million and with a staff of over 5,000 employees.

If you are an employer or employee in Northern Ireland requiring legal advice in respect of a company commercial law matter, including employment law issues such as redundancies, contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast by calling 0800 840 9296.