Saturday 25 November 2017

Former Clerys workers will be given 'goodwill payment'

Ethel Buckley, SIPTU Services Division Organiser speaks at the Clery's announcement at The Mansion House. Photo: Tony Gavin
Ethel Buckley, SIPTU Services Division Organiser speaks at the Clery's announcement at The Mansion House. Photo: Tony Gavin
Natrium Director Deirdre Foley with the Lord Mayor Brendan Carr at the Clery's announcement at The Mansion House. Photo: Tony Gavin
Project architect Rory Murphy with Natrium Director Deirdre Foley at the Clery's announcement at The Mansion House. Photo: Tony Gavin
Ethel Buckley, SIPTU Services Division Organiser speaks at the Clery's announcement at The Mansion House. Photo: Tony Gavin
Natrium Director Deirdre Foley at the Clery's announcement at The Mansion House. Photo: Tony Gavin
Clerys clock. Picture: Frank McGrath
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Former Clerys workers who lost their jobs without warning in June 2015 will be given a “goodwill” payment following protracted negotiations between the owners and trade union.

Trade union Siptu has outlined some details of a “confidential settlement” reached with Natrium which closed the iconic store without warning, leaving 460 workers including some directly employed by the company without a job.

The settlement includes an “understanding” around fair working conditions during construction works and the operational stages of the €150m Clerys redevelopment.

The communities of the North East inner city will also benefit through training and employment opportunities, and there will be a process to “recognise the service” of former Clerys workers when it comes to gaining employment in the new development.

Also: “A process which allows for a goodwill payment for the former employees of OCS Operations Ltd in liquidation who were made redundant on June 15 2015 who were employed on the O’Connell Street site.”

And Dublin Lord Mayor Brendan Carr, who helped broker the deal, said the situation could not be repeated, calling for legislative change.

“As we must accept that periods of disagreement and conflict between workers and business interests are part of a normally functioning society, just as is their resolution through dialogue, there is also a need to accept that legislative measures must be introduced to ensure that a dispute of the nature of the one that surrounded the closure of Clerys cannot happen again,” he said.

Clerys closed its doors in June 2015 after it was bought by a company, Natrium, for €29m.

It was restructured in 2012 as part of a receivership process by its previous owners and bankers which resulted in the property assets being separated into one company, and the day-to-day retail business operation put in another.

When the operating company went into liquidation, staff were made redundant. Some working for concession companies may have been relocated to other outlets.

The State paid statutory redundancy to workers totalling €2.5m.

Natrium’s Deirdre Foley said the agreement was in the “best interests of all involved”

“We are looking forward to continuing with the development. That will take the guts of two to three years before it’s open. We’re looking forward to creating something that will be internationally renowned and create a catalyst for change,” she said.

She added a community and employment liaison officer would be appointed to work with former workers, and to enhance local and youth employment.

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