Sunday 23 October 2016

Clerys workers demand changes in redundancy laws for employers

Clerys workers take their protest to Kildare Street, demanding changes in the law
Clerys workers take their protest to Kildare Street, demanding changes in the law

Former Clerys workers are calling for employers to enter a 30-day period of consultation with workers before redundancies can occur.

They called on Jobs Minister Richard Bruton to change the law to ensure that what happened to them cannot happen to other workers, as they protested outside his department yesterday.

Clerys closed its doors suddenly last June 12, leaving workers shell-shocked.


The retailer employed 130 people at its store and in its warehouse. Another 330 were employed by the 50 concession holders who operated in the department store.

Its US owners, Gordon Brothers, sold the business to Natrium Ltd.

Ethel Buckley, the Siptu representative who organised the protest yesterday, said that as it stands, what happened to the Clerys workers could happen to any worker.

"We are calling for a change in the law and we're asking that employers be required to give 30 days' notice to workers of redundancies, and if that does not happen that the redundancies would be declared void and the workers would be paid the wages owed to them," she said.

One of the store's former workers, Maurice Bracken (52), from Terenure, told the Herald that he had worked in Clerys for 32 years, and his father had worked there for 25.

"I worked in the payroll department," he said.

On the day the store shut down, he had already left work.

"I was on my way to the Grand Canal Theatre and I was cycling along and got a call from someone at work to tell me, 'Maurice, they closed it'. I was shocked. I just burst out crying.

"I suppose it was all the memories of my father and me, and my life there."

Mr Bracken said he was also thinking about his colleagues being told they had to leave the building, and the shock that they had gone through.


He added that the law must be changed to prevent this happening again.

"It's too late for us. We know it's hapwpened. There's no going back, but we're just here really to make sure that it doesn't happen to anyone else," he said.

"We hope that it will change so that no one will have to endure what we had to endure."

Margaret O'Dea (62), from Clontarf, who worked in Clerys for 44 years, said she often bumps into people who regularly shopped there and said the store is sadly missed in the city.

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