Date Released: 11 June 2016
SIPTU members marked the first anniversary of the closure of Clerys Department Store in O’Connell Street, Dublin 1, by projecting a massive image with the slogan ‘Time for Justice’ onto the façade of the building on Saturday (11th June).
SIPTU Services Division Organiser, Ethel Buckley, said: “On the night of the 11th June, 2015, a process was set in motion that over the next 24 hours saw the historic store closed and over 400 workers losing their jobs without warning or the owners making any plans for the payment of their outstanding wages or redundancy entitlements.
“On this anniversary, politicians must be reminded of their commitment to legislate to ensure what happened to the Clerys workers can never happen again. This means ending the situation where unscrupulous business people can use loopholes in company law to create bogus insolvency and redundancy situations and thereby avoid their responsibilities to workers.”
She added: “Following a campaign by the former Clerys workers and their union, SIPTU, to highlight what happened the previous government commissioned the Duffy-Cahill Report. This recommends changes to the law to ensure there are severe penalties for employers who do not adhere to the minimum 30-day consultation period before implementing collective redundancies. It also calls for the introduction of a mechanism for recovering assets transferred out of a business in certain circumstances. The new government must legislate without delay to ensure such protections are provided for workers.”
Former SIPTU Clerys Shop Steward, Gerry Markey said: “On the night of 11th-12th June, 2015, the consortium Natirum bought Clerys. It immediately appointed new directors and transferred the company’s assets to a ‘distinct and separate’ trading company for €1. Later that day, it successfully sought the appointment of a liquidator.
“At 5.30pm on 12th June myself and my colleagues were informed the store was closing for good. Within minutes we were escorted off the premises by security guards. We eventually only received statutory redundancy payments, with the State picking up the tab and the owners of Clerys paying nothing. It deeply saddens me that one year on the store, which provided employment to hundreds of workers, still lies empty.”
He added: “The Dáil recently passed a motion calling on the Government to legislate in line with the Duffy-Cahill Report to prevent other workers having to endure a similar situation. The former Clerys workers campaign for justice will not end until this is done.”