herald

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Nothing to stop another Clerys, say workers one year on from closure

Clerys workers hold 'Time for Justice' rally marking one year since store's closure
Clerys workers hold 'Time for Justice' rally marking one year since store's closure

There is still nothing to stop another group of workers suffering the same fate as Clerys staff, it has been claimed.

Up to 80 people held a demonstration outside the iconic Dublin store yesterday to mark the first anniversary of the store's closure.

Siptu spokesman Robbie Purfield said they want jobs minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor to speed up legislation to close loopholes that allowed the buyers of Clerys to force people out of their jobs without giving them redundancy payments.

The State used €2m in taxpayers' money to give statutory payments to more than 400 workers who were made redundant without any notice.

A Labour Party motion was passed in the Dail recently proposing greater protection for workers who find themselves in similar situations.

Bolted

"New legislation is urgently needed as there's currently nothing to stop a similar situation happening again. The horse has bolted for Clerys workers, but they don't want it happen to anyone else," Mr Purfield told the Herald.

The Duffy-Cahill Report into what happened at Clerys made recommendations which the minister needs to include in a new law, he added.

Labour has now pledged to table a draft law to prevent a repeat of situations like the Clerys closure.

Former junior jobs minister, Ged Nash, said Labour would act if the Government failed to follow up on the expert report.

Labour would seek support to ensure their proposal became a reality.

The report called for major new protections to be introduced for workers, including increased redundancy compensation to as much as two years' pay.

Gerry Markey (54), who was a bed salesman and shop steward at Clerys, said: "The owners, Gordon Brothers, told us the next day they had sold to Natrium but our jobs were safe.

"Later on the same day, we were informed by people for Natrium that our jobs were gone and we had to leave the building immediately.

Meeting

"We want a meeting with Natrium who have refused to meet us.

"We want an apology from them for what they did. We deserve respect," Mr Markey added.

The store's former payroll manager, Maurice Bracken (53), from Kimmage, said: "I worked in Clerys for 32 years. People who worked there are still in shock. We never got closure."

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