Tuesday 24 October 2017

'Still no law to stop more Clerys-style lay-offs occurring'

Clerys workers who lost their jobs when the store closed one year ago rally outside the store. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Clerys workers who lost their jobs when the store closed one year ago rally outside the store. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Alan O'Keeffe and John Downing

There is still nothing to stop another group of workers suffering the same fate as Clerys department store workers, claimed former employees and union representatives.

Up to 80 people held a demonstration outside the former iconic Dublin store yesterday to mark the first anniversary of the action by the store's new buyers that cost them their jobs.

Siptu spokesman Robbie Purfield said they wanted Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor to speed up legislation to close the loopholes that allowed the buyers of Clerys to make the staff redundant without having to give them redundancy payments.

The State used €2m in taxpayers' money to give statutory payments to more than 400 workers who were made redundant without any notice.

A Labour Party motion was passed in the Dáil recently proposing greater protection for workers in similar situations.

Mr Purfield said: "New legislation is urgently needed as there's nothing to stop a similar situation happening again. The horse has bolted for Clerys workers but they don't want it to happen to anyone else."

The Duffy-Cahill Report into what happened at Clerys made recommendations which the minister needed to include in a new law, he said.

Labour has pledged to table a draft law to prevent a repeat of situations like the Clerys closure. Former junior jobs minister Ged Nash said Labour would act if the Government failed to follow up on the expert report. Labour would seek support to ensure their proposal became a reality.

The report called for major new protections be introduced for workers, including increased redundancy compensation - to as much as two years' pay.

The expert report noted that the operating company became insolvent and went into liquidation, meaning the workers lost their jobs without "warning or notice" and money owed to them was not paid as "an apparent result of the transfer of this asset".

The store's former payroll manager Maurice Bracken (53) from Kimmage said he was still in shock over the way they were treated. "We never got closure," he told the Irish Independent.

Irish Independent

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