herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

‘It’s despicable – they sent in 20 burly security men to make sure everyone left’

Former Clerys workers who were let go on short notice last week have labelled the loss of jobs there as “despicable”.

The store was dramatically shut on Friday, hours after being bought by a Irish-led consortium called Natrium. 

Gerry Markey, who worked at the department store for over 34 years, described how he was “shell-shocked” when he heard the news.

“I was down the country when I got a phone-call to say that a meeting had been called, and then an hour later I received another call basically telling me that I’d lost my job,” he told the Herald.

“It’s absolutely despicable what has been done, giving people such short notice and telling them that they no longer have a job. It’s wrong,” Mr Markey said.

The 53-year-old began his employment with the store as a tailor in 1981, eventually ending up as a supervisor.

He described the closing down of the store as being carried out with “military style” precision, leaving staff feeling “uncomfortable”.

“At 6.30pm a load of men in suits came in accompanied by locksmiths and over 20 burly men from a security firm, to make sure everyone left the premises.

“To say staff felt uncomfortable would be an understatement,” Mr Markey said.

“The restaurant staff were told to leave straight away. They were told to dump their food in the bin and go.

“That’s an awful waste as well,” he said.

He also described how it wasn’t just the 130 staff who worked directly for Clerys that would be affected, but that customers and concession staff would also be hit hard by a “ripple affect”.

He claimed that some customers who had made orders won’t be receiving their purchases or money back due to the liquidation of the business.

And he spoke of the affect on his colleagues

“There were three members of the same family who worked at Clerys.

“Three people from the same household are now jobless.

“Another married couple have been working here for several years, their jobs were gone just like that as well,” he said.

Also let go was shop-steward John Finn (62), who had worked at Clerys for almost 43 years.

Mr Finn described how he went into a meeting at 1.30pm on Friday, and that by 6.30pm the job he had for five decades was gone.

“We expected the company to be gone but we we’re in complete shock at how it was done.

“It was totally wrong the way it was handled.

“I’m just 26 months short of retirement so we’ll see how the meetings go. It’s sad to leave,” Mr Finn said.

trading

“I don’t know what I’m going to do from here.

“There’s meeting tomorrow between (the liquidator) and the unions, so we’ll have to wait and see, but I really don’t know what will happen from here.”

“We knew the company wasn’t trading well, but we didn’t think it would come to an end like this, so quickly in the way it did,” he added.

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