AST is fighting cases on two fronts as it faces impending action from the Irish government and employees suing for wrongful dismissal.
The hardware supplier faces action from the Irish government for return of some of the IRz10 million grant awarded to AST to build its European assembly plant in Limerick. This comes after AST closed down its operation in Limerick last month, which employed 500 workers, and moved to smaller premises in Raheny, Ireland, employing 135.
At the same time, 60 AST employees were made redundant last week and are now threatening to sue the manufacturer for wrongful dismissal.
According to sources, several employees are planning to band together in legal action against the Samsung-owned PC vendor.
Matthew Street, AST Europe marketing manager, confirmed that negotiations with the Irish government were continuing. But he insisted the company had received no notification of legal action from employees.
'As it stands today, there is no legal action against AST - by next week it could be different. Sometimes people say they are going to do things but whether they sign the bottom of the form and send it is another matter,' he said.
Street confirmed 'groups of people' had threatened action in the run-up to the redundancies. 'This has not been a pleasant time - we've had to say goodbye to 68 people who have been loyal to AST.'
According to Street, AST's withdrawal from the desktop and server sectors was precipitated by the collapse of the Korean won, which had put its Korean parent under pressure.
'We didn't deliver the currency crisis at the back end of 1997, but we have had to make tough decisions,' he said.
Following the cutbacks, AST declined to sign two significant contracts to supply the UK Post Office with 2,000 units and Gateshead Council with 4,000 units. Both contracts were transferred to Compaq.
Street claimed that by focusing on notebooks, the company would return to profitability quicker.
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