Unions demand new ‘Clerys’ law

Clerys Demo Image 1Unions have challenged Dáil members to legislate to protect workers from exploitative owners after the Government published its report on last year’s Clerys scandal. Long-standing Clerys staff were thrown out of work, with minimal taxpayer-funded compensation, when the owners stripped the company’s assets and declared the store bankrupt.

Published earlier this week, the report by Labour Court chairman Kevin Duffy and barrister Nessa Cahill recommends changes to the law to ensure a minimum 30-day consultation period before employers can implement collective redundancies. It also recommends the introduction of a mechanism for recovering assets transferred out of a business in certain circumstances.

SIPTU official Ethel Buckley, who led the Clerys workers’ campaign, said: “Politicians from all parties condemned the treatment of the Clerys workers by Gordon Brothers and Natrium at the time of the store’s closure. These same politicians must now legislate without delay to ensure such a scenario can never happen again.”

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said the report’s recommendations would protect workers if they were implemented in full. Its general secretary Patricia King said: “A key priority for the very brave staff of Clerys was to ensure that what happened to them could never happen to any other group of workers. We believe these recommendations will prove very helpful in protecting workers from ever having to experience the detestable treatment meted out by Natrium to Clerys staff.”

Ms Buckley paid tribute to the Clerys workers. “Their determination to highlight the injustice done to them, and to ensure it cannot be repeated, will be a fitting legacy when the changes proposed in this report become effective,” she said.

Read the report HERE.