Redundancies at Antonopoulos and Yvonni Stores

Most of the staff at firms that closed down last week still do not understand exactly what happened; others are refusing to accept the fact and what it means for their future. «From one day to the next, I had joined the ranks of the unemployed,» said Despina Lambropoulou, who worked at an Antonopoulos supermarket. The staff had wondered why goods were not being replaced, but no one imagined the chain would close down. Lambropoulou, who is 31 and single, helps support her family and will now apply for unemployment benefits. «I don’t think that this firm is in a position to pay us compensation,» she said. «No one knows what drove the company to declare bankruptcy and, to be honest, it doesn’t make any difference to us,» she added. «In two years’ time, I was due for early retirement,» said Efthymia Limani, another former Antonopoulos employee. Limani, 53, has a child and is paying off a loan. «Now only my husband is earning and we are not going to be able to manage,» she said, declaring that what bothered her most was the sudden nature and the finality of the decision. «For the last six months no new products were being ordered, and some of us were suspicious,» said Eleni Imbrohori, head of the Yvonni Stores outlet in Vouliagmenis Street. Assurances from the management that it was selling the store gave staff hope. «We have only been paid 120 euros each and have now put all our faith in the State,» she added. «We know that efforts are being made to help us but I do not believe they will be successful.» Staff believe that poor management of what was a very profitable business led to the bankruptcy. «Applying for unemployment benefits is in no one’s interest. What we want is job security so we can live.»

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