Thursday 25 May 2017

State will pay €2.5m to former Clerys staff who lost their jobs

The State is to pay an estimated €2.5m to the 130 former direct employees of Clerys who were made redundant when the iconic department store shut in June
The State is to pay an estimated €2.5m to the 130 former direct employees of Clerys who were made redundant when the iconic department store shut in June
Ged Nash: said staff of Clerys had been left ‘high and dry’
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

The State is to pay an estimated €2.5m to the 130 former direct employees of Clerys who were made redundant when the iconic department store shut.

But it's not clear how many of the remaining 330 staff who worked for the various concession holders in the Dublin store will receive similar treatment.

The Department of Social Protection said the estimated €2.5m from the Social Insurance Fund is in respect of both redundancy payments and Insolvency Payments Scheme payments for a total of 130 employees.

The Insolvency Payments Scheme protects the pay-related entitlements of employees whose employer has become legally insolvent.

But asked by the Irish Independent if the staff of concession holders who lost their jobs would also receive redundancy support, a department spokeswoman could only say that employees of concessions within Clerys "may have an entitlement" to similar State payments, subject to the terms and conditions of their relevant schemes.

About 460 staff lost their jobs when the famous Dublin department store suddenly shut in June after the ownership changed hands.

Natrium, the company that bought Clerys from Gordon Bros in June, moved swiftly to put OCS Operations Ltd, which ran Clerys, into liquidation.

Kieran Wallace and Eamonn Richardson of KPMG were subsequently appointed as liquidators.

The shock closure sparked outrage from both political and trade union quarters, with Employment Minister Ged Nash saying the staff and concession holders had been left "high and dry".

The Department of Social Protection said last night that it would be attending a creditors' meeting due to take place on Tuesday.

A committee of inspection is to be established which will include five representatives of creditors.

Mr Nash told the Dáil last month that it would be in the interests of the taxpayer that the Department of Social Protection consider taking a place on the committee of inspection to be established in the context of the liquidation. He said Tánaiste Joan Burton was taking advice as to whether a representative of the State should be on the committee.

The minister said the Tánaiste was taking additional advice on other matters that she could potentially pursue under company law.

It would be rare for the Department of Social Protection to be represented on such a committee.

When the store suddenly closed, concession holders demanded the return of their stock, which they said was valued at more than €3m.

They also demanded the return of €2m in cash which they say is owed to them from their own direct sales proceeds.

Irish Independent

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