Date Released: 13 January 2016
SIPTU activists and the former Clerys workers have welcomed the decision of Dublin City Council to renew the Scheme of Special Planning Control for the O’Connell Street area. They have also welcomed the inclusion in the scheme of an objective that 'workers are assured fair working conditions’ in the city centre retail district.
SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Ethel Buckley, said: “The confirmation this morning (Wednesday, 13th January) by the Dublin City Council Chief Executive of the acceptance of the SIPTU proposal, which was supported by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, to include the aim that ‘workers are assured fair working conditions’ in the vision statement of the Scheme is a success for the new Working City Initiative launched last December.
"The SIPTU Services Division intends to continue working with councillors and community groups as part of the Working City Initiative to have the O’Connell Street area declared a Living Wage employment zone.
“Ensuring that workers in the centre of our capital city are paid a wage which is adequate to provide a minimum essential standard of living is a fitting aim for an area which will be at the centre of Easter 1916 commemorative events this year.”
Former Clerys worker and SIPTU activist, Gerry Markey, said: “This Scheme now provides guidelines for the future development of the O’Connell Street area which will not only ensure its architectural integrity is maintained but can also be developed to ensure it is a zone where workers rights are fully respected.
“In particular, we support the Scheme’s recognition of Clerys department store, as having a ‘special significance’ in shaping ‘the social, cultural, economic and architectural character of O’Connell Street and the area over generations’.
“Further, the Scheme has the stated objective of protecting ‘such uses that contribute significantly to the special character of the area’ and this will form a key consideration of any future planning applications involving Clerys.”
The Working City Initiative was launched by the SIPTU Services Division in December, 2015, at an event attended by trade union activists as well as Labour Party, Sinn Féin and Workers’ Party politicians. The Initiative seeks to ensure that adequate focus is placed on the creation of quality jobs and the concerns of workers in city development plans.