Clery’s closed in June 2015 but the government did nothing change the law to protect workers’ right. Instead in the dying days of this government, the Labour Party is setting up yet another committee to examine a change in company law.
People Before Profit representative Gino Kenny said,
‘At the time of the closure the Fine Gael Minister, Richard Bruton, said that there should not be ‘undue haste’ in looking at legal changes.
‘Yet there had been a spate of closures in the retail trade before Clery’s and in many cases the companies did not pay workers their redundancy.
‘Instead workers had to wait for up to eight weeks to get the statutory minimum paid to them from the taxpayers. The Labour Party went along went this delay.
‘Clery’s was taken over by a US asset stripper called Gordon Brothers who separated it into a property company and an operating company. The operating company was declared insolvent and it was claimed there was no money to pay workers redundancy.
Once again the taxpayer had to step in to pay basic minimum terms.
People Before Profit believe that the laws must be changed so that
1. It is illegal to separate companies into ones that hold profitable assets and others that go insolvent to ensure no claims are made on the property.
2. Liquidators should have to put workers first in the queue for the settlement of redundancy terms – not the last.
3. Workers should have right to press for disqualification of company directors who put profiteering above their rights.
4. Companies should not be allowed to declare closure and insolvency when they are viable.