By Hannah Spratt
Staff affected by the major fire at Primark in Belfast will hopefully be back in work in just over a weeks time.
The site was gutted by a major fire at the end of August.
It's hoped employees will be back in employment by Monday the 17th of September.
Staff will be relocated to other Primark stores and the company will hold discussions with workers so issues like additional travel expenses can be sorted.
Paddy Lillis – Usdaw General Secretary says: “Usdaw has been supporting our members and reps affected by the fire through this very difficult period and we have been working closely with the company to get the best possible deal for them.
What we have agreed so far provides some future security for staff and we will continue to support, advise and represent our members through the transitional period and beyond.
“This has been a tough time for the staff and all concerned and it is going to take time to get things back to normal, if that is even possible.
We welcome the company restating their commitment to Belfast and we will be working with them to deliver on that.”
It was announced on Thursday that a cordon around the building will remain in place for at least four months.
This sparked fury from other businesses who remain within the cordon and unable to trade, with some calling for the Bank Buildings to be demolished, instead of work continuing to preserve the historic facade.
In a statement on Friday, Primark said it is "working very closely with the authorities to determine the best approach to reducing the size of the safety cordon as soon as feasible".
"In the immediate aftermath of the fire, we established a team of specialist engineers to advise on how to secure the structure as soon as possible," the company said in a statement.
"The priority was to remove elements that posed an immediate risk to public safety.
"This specialist team continues to survey the building to determine its structural integrity and to inform the best next steps to reduce the cordon restrictions.
"All options are being explored for the future of the structure."
The company revealed it will continue to pay its Bank Buildings staff until the end of December.
"We can today confirm that we will be paying all Primark Bank Building colleagues until Monday 31 December 2018," the company said.
"We will be allocating individuals to other Primark stores, taking into account each team member's individual circumstances.
"We are aiming to have the team back at work from Monday 17 September. Primark is holding one-to-one discussions with colleagues to ensure that important factors such as additional travel expenses are also taken into account."
Primark also restated its commitment to Belfast.
"Since the fire Primark has been working hard to identify suitable premises for a replacement Primark store.
"Primark remains committed to our colleagues, customers and retail community in Belfast."