It was incumbent on Natrium Ltd, new owners of Clerys, to engage with the staff and their trade unions, Minister of State for Jobs Ged Nash has told the Seanad.
He said he intended to engage with the new owners behind Natrium Ltd, who should indicate their plans for the property at an early date and how its employment potential could be maximised.
“What has happened in Clerys is very shocking indeed, and those who are directly employed by Clerys, and those who own and work in the concession stores, have been treated appallingly,’’ said Mr Nash.
He said Clerys was part of the wider Dublin city centre community and the building represented an iconic landmark that had played an important part in the life of the city and the country for well over 100 years.
Mr Nash said his thoughts were, firstly, with the 134 workers and their families and with the 330 staff employed by the concession stores.
“They have been treated in a cold and callous fashion and simply cast aside by the new owners, with neither the respect nor dignity they deserved after, in many cases, many decades of service,’’ he added.
Mr Nash was replying to Senator David Cullinane, of Sinn Féin, who said no provision for redundancy, wages, holiday pay or other staff-related costs was made in the successful bid for Clerys.
Mr Cullinane said serious questions were raised about the rights of legal entities and corporates over and above the rights of employees.
"It is not the first time workers have been left high and dry,'' he said. "We saw it with Waterford Crystal, TalkTalk, Game, La Senza and Vita Cortex.''
He said the workers had been treated despicably.