New charges brought over Clerys redundancies

OCS Operations chief accused of giving false information and breaking employment laws

The former Clerys department store on O’Connell Street in Dublin, which closed in 2015. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

The former Clerys department store on O’Connell Street in Dublin, which closed in 2015. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Fresh charges have been brought against a director of the former owners of Clerys over the handling of collective redundancies at the department store on Dublin’s O’Connell Street.

OCS Operations Ltd petitioned the High Court for liquidation on June 12th, 2015. This was followed by the collective redundancies in which 460 people lost jobs, 130 of them were directly employed by Clerys, which was later acquired by Natrium Ltd.

On Monday, Niamh Tuite, the solicitor acting for the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, told Dublin District Court the new charges were against James Brydie, the director of OCS Operations, which is now in liquidation.

Mr Brydie, with an address at Kingsmere Road, London, faces six charges. He is accused of impeding and giving false or misleading information to a WRC inspector as well as four counts of breaking employment protection laws.

Ms Tuite said the case was linked to another prosecution already before the court.

She said the accused lived in the UK but that there had been “substitute service” of the summonses at the office of a law firm in Dublin.

Adjournment

Mr Brydie was not present and had no legal representation during the hearing. Ms Tuite asked Judge John Brennan to adjourn the case to allow him to be notified again and to have “a final opportunity” to appear before the court.

She said that if there was no appearance on the next date her application would then be for the case to go ahead in his absence. The judge adjourned the case until April 9th.

Mr Brydie is accused of impeding an inspector and giving false or misleading information to an inspector on May 13th, 2015, contrary to the Workplace Relations Act.

He is also facing four charges under the Protection of Employment Act in which it is alleged that on June 12th, 2015, he failed to initiate consultation with representatives of employees affected by redundancies in OCS Operations Ltd, that he failed to supply employee representatives with relevant information relating to the redundancies, that he failed to notify the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in writing of the collective redundancies, and that he failed to keep records that entitled the Minister to ascertain whether or not there had been compliance with the principles of the Protection of Employment Act.

Natrium Ltd is no longer facing any charges in connection with the redundancies.

However, proceedings are still pending against Deirdre Foley, Mark Redmond and OCS Operations, who have indicated that they would be contesting charges brought against them.