Employees who had been occupying a branch of Thomas Cook in Grafton Street, Dublin, were arrested this morning after ignoring a High Court order to vacate the premises.

The workers, who started the sit-in last Friday, were protesting about redundancy packages and the decision to close the two Thomas Cook branches in the city. A Direct Holidays outlet is also earmarked for closure.

It is believed about 28 people, including a pregnant woman, were arrested at around 5am this morning after defying the High Court order issued yesterday evening. They are due to appear in court at 2pm today.

A Thomas Cook spokesperson said the company had since repossessed and secured the Grafton Street shop.

Throughout the protest, Thomas Cook had been at pains to stress its willingness to talk to the workers about a redundancy deal. Following the latest developments in the dispute, it is unclear whether that offer will still be on the table.

“We said we would talk to the workers – providing they gave up the protest,” said the spokesperson.

The company has fiercely denied suggestions that the Dublin branch shutdowns are just the start of a major closure programme of 100 shops across the UK.