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'Law must change to ensure Clerys debacle never occurs again'


ICTU chief Patricia King Photo: Damien Eagers

ICTU chief Patricia King Photo: Damien Eagers

ICTU chief Patricia King Photo: Damien Eagers

The new Government is coming under pressure to ensure what happened to the Clerys workers never occurs again.

The head of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Patricia King, has told a conference that the findings of the recent Duffy Cahill report must now be implemented, suggesting it would be a fitting tribute to the staff who had lost their jobs.

It comes amid a report that the State is taking legal advice over whether it can recoup the cost of paying statutory redundancy to the 460 workers.

Staff at Clerys learned in June of last year that they were to lose their jobs, just hours after the store building was sold. A liquidator was appointed and staff at the store were entitled only to statutory redundancy.

The report by Labour Court chairman Kevin Duffy and company law specialist Nessa Cahill found that there should be increased compensation for workers amounting to two years' pay if an existing 30-day notice and consultation period isn't respected. It also said that workers whose jobs are wiped out without notice should get two years' pay instead.

The recommendations to extend the existing provisions of the Companies Act to give greater protections to workers are designed to prevent what happened to the 460 staff at the iconic Dublin department store from occurring again.

The report also noted that while the transaction that led to the Clerys closure is lawful, "it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it would be preferable if it were not".

Ms King said the Clerys ­"debacle" was "one of the worst pieces of behaviour".

"The importance [of the Duffy Cahill review] is going to be in getting it implemented," Ms King said.

"They have made recommendations. The tribute to the Clerys workers and the legacy of the Clerys workers will be when we get the law changed to say, you can't do that."

Irish Independent