Staff at two HMV shops in Ireland are staging sit-in protests to object to the retailer's decision to shut 16 stores in the Republic of Ireland. The decision was handed down from directors of HMV, who chose to close Irish operations. However, the staff had other ideas.
So why are they staging a sit-in, and just how high are emotions running?
IrelandIn the Republic of Ireland HMV is taking a different approach to the one it has adopted in the UK. Instead of going into administration and continuing to run the stores, it is going into receivership and winding down immediately. As a result, its 16 stores in the country are being closed.
ProtestsThe protests are taking place in two stores in Limerick. They started last night, when staff told the BBC that they were worried about wages they were due to receive, and that they would continue the protest until they received written confirmation that they would receive what was owed.
The pay month ends tomorrow: this pay cheque included all the hours staff worked over Christmas and during the New Year, so they were due a bumper pay cheque.
It's thought that they were inspired by a similar move last year when La Senza closed its Irish stores and staff staged a sit-in until the business promised that they would be paid.
ReceivershipThe problem is that La Senza was in administration rather than receivership, which puts a different complexion on payments.
HMV staff in the UK will continue to be employed and paid while the business is in administration. Staff in Ireland have been made redundant. The company will now try to sell off any assets and pay off any money owed to banks and staff. Whether employees receive any cash will be down to how much they can sell assets for - and how much is owed.
A spokesperson from Receiver, Deloitte, told RTE that the company was looking at options they could use in order to "facilitate payments to staff". Staff told The Journal that they were in negotiations with Deloitte in Ireland.
StaffAt the time of writing, the sit-ins continue. There's no telling how long this will continue and whether it will be over in a matter of hours, or whether they follow the example of Vita Cortex, where staff who had been made redundant staged a sit-in that started in December 2011 and ran for five months.
Consumer anger has been running high since the administrators in the UK said they would not be accepting vouchers. We reported yesterday how one grandfather decided to take matters into his own hands. Meanwhile police were called in Oxford, and Twitter was ablaze with furious people who were left with worthless Christmas gifts.
However, staff have been largely forgotten in the mess. They have had to continue to trail into work to face a barrage of abuse from customers upset about their vouchers and a frenzy of buying in the 25% off sale - all while living with horrible uncertainty about the future of their jobs.