Date Released: 16 June 2015
A rally by SIPTU members employed in Clerys department store and their supporters on O’Connell Street, Dublin, at lunchtime on Tuesday, 16th June, received overwhelming support from the public.
Over 1,000 people attended the two-hour protest which began at 12.00 p.m. Among those who addressed the rally were Clerys workers, SIPTU organisers and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke.
Addressing the crowd SIPTU shop steward and Clerys worker, John Crowe, said he had been left dazed by the sudden closure on Friday (12th June) of the store in which he had worked for over 40 years.
“No one deserves to be treated the way I and my colleagues have been. We gave decades of service to Clerys but were pushed out on the street with not even a thank you. Workers should not and cannot be allowed to be treated in this manner.”
Susie Gaynor-McGowan, who worked in Clerys for 11 years, told the crowd that she had only learned that the store had closed on social media.
“This is not the 1920s, this is not 1913. In the year 2015, workers should not be just thrown out in the manner that we were. The message that the owners should take from this protest is that the Clerys workers will not stop until we are treated fairly,” she said.
SIPTU Organiser, Teresa Hannick, said: “The new owners of the store have refused to even recognise that the workers exist. The workers have a simple and clear demand. The store’s new owners, Natrium, must meet with them and show them the respect that they deserve.”
Among the large number of national and local politicians who attended the event were Labour Party TDs, Joe Costello and Ruairi Quinn, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and Mary Lou McDonald TD, Socialist Party leader, Joe Higgins and Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin.
Those attending the rally were asked to sign a petition calling on Natrium “to immediately meet with worker representatives to discuss the purchase and subsequent application to the Courts to put the company into liquidation and the consequences of these actions on the workers.”