Tánaiste urges new Clerys owners to show ‘decency’ to workers
Developments at Dublin store the ‘lowest level’ of financial capitalism, Burton says
Tánaiste Joan Burton has called on the new owners of Clerys to behave with decency to staff and concession workers who have lost their jobs after the closure of the store. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times.
Ms Burton, the Minister for Social Protection, said her department would be ready to meet all basic payments due to the 460 staffs who have lost their jobs at the story.
“I would hope the new owners would have the heart and the moral decency to realise there are people involved here,” said Ms Burton, who was speaking in Cork where a Labour Party meeting is being held.
“It is a terrible time. I was talking to people who have 40 years plus service in Clerys. As one man said to me, ‘Clerys was my family’. He is now in his early 60s.”
About 40 former employees of Clerys staged a protest outside the offices of Natirum, which bought the store, in Dublin on Friday.
Siptu organiser Teresa Hannick said the former employees would have little faith in the “wishy washy” statement issued by Natrium Ltd on Friday would translate into secure employment.
Natrium on Friday said it intended to invest in the rejuvenation of the property in a move that will ultimately lead to the creation of a minimum of 1,700 jobs in Dublin city centre.
Asked about the fate of workers when employers close down operations as happened with Vita Cortex in Cork, Ms Burton said she would work to ensure staff got all their State entitlements
“Speaking as Minister for Social Protection, I worked very hard on Vita Cortex. The department stood ready on the social insurance fund to meet all of the basic payments,” she said.
“And we will be doing exactly that in relation to Clerys workers. What happened (to Clerys) was a form of financial capitalism at its very lowest level. I have asked my officials to have a look at the legislation in relation to the Social Insurance Fund and to examine and review what happened.”
Ms Burton said she was prioritising getting those affected social welfare support as quickly as possible.
“We are also dependent on the liquidators to process the redundancy notices. We have been told informally by the liquidators we should have the redundancy notices within a week,” she added.
“We can then proceed on behalf of the department to pay the redundancy
and the other monies which may be due to the workers.”