herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Clerys workers call for tougher laws to protect employees

Anthony and Caroline Murphy lost their jobs at Clerys
Anthony and Caroline Murphy lost their jobs at Clerys

Former Clerys workers have repeated their pleas to the Government for tougher company laws to protect workers being made redundant.

Caroline Murphy (49), an administrator in Clerys for 30 years, said an RTE television documentary about the iconic store's abrupt closure in June screened on Monday made her "very emotional".

"What happened to us could still happen again in another company. The Government needs to change the law to prevent this problem happening again," she said

Her husband, Anthony (59), also lost his job in the closure after 42 years of service.

Meeting

The SIPTU union restated its support last night for the demands of the Justice for the Clerys Workers campaign.

The campaign calls for a meeting between Natrium, the store's new owners, and representatives of its former employees - as well as a change to company law - to ensure other workers do not have to endure a similar situation.

SIPTU organiser Ethel Buckley said: "The manner in which Clerys was shut down, with its new owners paying no regard to a loyal workforce and leaving the costs of their redundancies with the State, marks this episode out as one of the most shameful in recent decades."

SIPTU activist and former Clerys worker, Gerry Markey, said new owners Natrium "immediately moved to liquidate the store's operating company without discussions with the employees, including over 130 members of SIPTU, and without making plans for the payment of their outstanding wages or redundancy entitlements."

"We are calling on the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton to adopt a law proposed by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions that would ensure that such a situation could not happen again."

A spokesman for the minister said: "Significant changes have been made to the law in this area through the Companies Act 2014, and many of these provisions have yet to be tested in the courts.

"As the Ministers have stated throughout this process, the prudent course of action therefore is to await further information about the progress of the liquidation in the Clerys case before assessing, along with the Company Law Review Group, what changes - if any - need to be made to company law."

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