herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Clerys owner promises to give new staff 'fair working conditions'

A protest by former workers at the front doors of the closed business Picture: Collins
A protest by former workers at the front doors of the closed business Picture: Collins

The new owner of Clerys is promising "fair working conditions" to 1,500 staff, less than 18 months after employees at the department store lost their jobs without notice.

OCS Properties, which is developing a retail outlet with a hotel and bar, listed 17 conditions including notice, pensions and redundancy in documents submitted to Dublin City Council (DCC).

Within the document, OCS said it is "committed to complying with all statutory and contractual obligations with respect to any of its direct employees".

Notice

Previously, 460 staff - some of whom worked directly for Clerys and others separately for concession holders - were given no notice of their redundancies when the store closed its doors in June last year.

Of those employees, 130 directly employed by Clerys received only statutory redundancy.

In the new development, which will also include offices, 1,450 jobs have been listed as Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs.

FTE positions usually consist of 40 hour across five days each week.

A further 1,115 indirect jobs are expected by OCS during its operational phase.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 jobs will be created during construction.

A spokesman said the company is set to liaise with local authorities in relation to the promotion of employment at the development for people living locally, both during the construction and when the development is in operation.

"The applicant is ­committed to working with Dublin City Council and associated ­agencies in Dublin and the local community in the ­implementation of an employment and ­training strategy in respect of the ­construction stage of the ­project; and, where feasible, in respect of the retail and ­catering ­elements of the proposed ­development," the spokesman said.

"The applicant is also committed to promoting local community employment opportunities among all of its suppliers and future tenants."

Believe

However, OCS has insisted it will not be directly employing staff, as this will be down to businesses operating within the development.

"As the developer of the building, it's expected that OCS will not be employing people directly but will instead bring in a number of retailers and restaurateurs who will employ staff," said the spokesman.

He added that the fair conditions listed in DCC plans are a "reiteration" of Irish legislation into employee rights.

Former Clerys employee ­Gerry Markey (54), who worked directly for the store and was a shop steward, said he found it hard to believe that this would be the case, referring to OCS director Deirdre Foley.

"She's saying this is what she is going to do in the future. It's a question of whether you believe her," he said.

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