Thursday 14 December 2017

Tánaiste accuses new Clerys owners of 'predator capitalism'

Tánaiste Joan Burton
Tánaiste Joan Burton

Niall O’Connor Political Correspondent

Tanaiste Joan Burton has hit out at the new owners of Clerys whom she accused of “predator capitalism”.

The Labour Party leader today said the Clerys workers have been left “in the lurch” while the taxpayer has been left to saddle the redundancy bill.

She said this bill could run into millions.

Ms Burton vowed to use “every legal avenue” available to “vindicate the State and taxpayers’ rights” in this regard.

“Predator capitalism can derive people of their livelihoods in an instant, as happened at Clerys,” Ms Burton said.

“I don’t believe it’s right that the owners can act as they did while leaving workers in the lurch and the State facing the redundancy bill,” she added.

Ms Burton made the remarks at an Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) conference in Co. Clare this afternoon.

She warned that the threat of a “race to the bottom” is a major issue in the workforce.

“And increasingly workers are facing this threat in workplaces where trade unions are discouraged or simply ignored,” the Tánaiste told the conference.

“I believe very strongly that Government cannot simply stand aside and allow this race to the bottom to happen without restraint.”

On the issue of the National minimum wage, Ms Burton said she expects the Low Pay Commission, which is due to report this month, to recommend that the €8.65 rate is increased.

“I want to say unambiguously that I want to see wage increases this year and next in all sectors of the economy where employers can afford to pay more. Government will play its part in increasing take home pay. In the forthcoming Budget, we will continue to reduce taxes on low and middle-income workers.”

Separately, Ms Burton spoke about the ongoing crisis in Greece and across the eurozone.

She said she wants to see a deal that can bring an end to Greece’s “very real humanitarian crisis”.

“Above all, I want Greece to remain an active member of the eurozone, and for all members to resist complacency about the potential effects of Greece being left, or forced, to exit.”

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