Unions welcome report on treatment of Clerys staff during sudden closure

Experts Kevin Duffy and Nessa Cahill want changes to employment law

Kevin Duffy, Nessa Cahill, Clerys, report, workers, employment law, sudden closure, SIPTU, ICTU

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Trade unions have welcomed a report on protecting workers from a repeat of the controversial Clerys closure.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) said measures contained in the Duffy-Cahill Report would prove "very helpful if implemented in full by any new government".

While SIPTU has described as 'positive' several proposals contained in the report.

The measures proposed include an amendment to the Protection of Employment Act.

It also proposes increasing the compensation afforded to workers, who cannot avail of a consultation period.

Congress General-Secretary Patricia King said: "If implemented, it would mean that employers' intent on imposing collective redundancies would be compelled to engage in a consultation process with staff for a minimum of 30 days".

"In other words, staff would be entitled to be treated in a civilised manner".

Calling the Clerys closure a "watershed in Irish industrial relations and business practice", SIPTU Services Division Organiser Ethel Buckley added: "The positive recommendations of this report can begin the process of ensuring that no one will ever profit again by treating workers in the shameful and underhand manner which the Clerys workers had to endure".

Another key recommendation in the report is the introduction of a mechanism for recovering an asset - or the proceeds of its sale - in circumstances where an employer transfers it out of the business with the effect of perpetrating a fraud on employees.

Clerys was bought by Natrium and the company was liquidated in June 2015.

Some 130 staff and 300 concession workers were let go without notice.