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New owners must have 'moral decency' to look after staff - Burton

TANAISTE Joan Burton appealed directly to the new Clerys owners to "have the moral decency" to look after staff who now face receiving only statutory redundancy payments.

This is despite the fact some have devoted a lifetime of service to the historic store.

Ms Burton told the Herald she was appalled by the plight of 460 Clerys workers who lost their jobs last week.

A total of 130 staff are full-time Clerys workers while 330 work for concession holders in the department store.


The Labour leader said she was truly shocked by how such a dedicated and loyal workforce had been treated.

She urged the owners to consider the plight of the workers.

"I would hope the new owners would have the heart and the moral decency to realise there are people involved here.

"It is a terrible time. I was talking to people who have 40 years-plus service in Clerys. As one man said to me: 'Clerys was my family'. He is now in his early sixties."

The Labour leader said her department will clear all payments as an urgent priority for the workers.

"We are also dependent on the liquidators to process the redundancy notices. We have been told informally by the liquidators that we should have the redundancy notices within a week.

"We can then proceed on behalf of the department to pay the redundancy. What happened was a form of financial capitalism at its lowest level.

"I do recall the former Governor of the Bank of England saying that an awful lot of finance capital nowadays in the City of London and elsewhere doesn't necessarily perform socially good work," she added.

"I have asked my officials to have a look at the legislation in relation to the Social Insurance Fund and to examine and review what happened."