Northern Ireland

Newry on Ice: Workers angry over 'lack of wages'

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Media captionYoung people have complained they were not paid for their work

About 30 people who worked at what was billed a "winter extravaganza" in County Down claim they have not been paid for several weeks' work.

Newry on Ice - A Winter Wonderland was a privately funded project that was due to run from 7 December until 5 January.

Newry and Mourne District Council gave the organisers a site at Albert Basin.

However, many employees said the company had failed to pay them and they could not contact them. It is thought the total amount owed is about £8,000.

Image caption The site in Newry city centre included an ice rink

About half the affected staff held a meeting in Newry on Sunday night, after the venture had closed.

The highest amount owed to any single individual is about £780.

SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley said the organisers "gave various promises of payments, none of them have been honoured".

"This is a disgraceful situation," he said.

"I understand some of the 30-plus young people have not received the pay due to them. 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 spokeswoman for Newry Trades Council, which is assisting the workers, many of them students, said: "We hope that the company would get in touch with the people and assure them that they will get paid, give them a time and date and how it will be paid."

One of the men behind the venture told the BBC he wanted to make sure the young people were paid.

"I don't know how much there is, but there is money there," said Gerry Corr-Black.

Many people have taken to Twitter and Facebook to complain about the venture, which appears to have been beset by problems from the start.

Organisers said they hoped to attract 100,000 people to Newry but on the opening weekend it was closed due to "severe weather".

There were also said to have been problems with the power supply and the ice, and original prices were said to have been too high.

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