Dáil debates

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Priority Questions

Company Closures

2:35 pm

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I want to focus on a couple of areas. We all agree it is imperative that the legal framework that we put in place be fit for purpose in dealing with any future case similar to that of Clerys. I also want to focus on the Protection of Employment Act 1977, which provides that where an employer is considering collective redundancies, there is an obligation to consult employees and provide certain information to employees for the purpose of the consultations. This was obviously lacking in the example of Clerys. Flowing from that, workers’ representatives have campaigned. The Duffy report recommended the removal of the insolvency exemption from the prohibition on implementing collective redundancies during the consultation period.

Section 14 of the Protection of Employment Act provides for the exemption from the prohibition against giving effect to collective redundancies until the expiry of 30 days after the notification to the Minister in circumstances of insolvency. Does the Minister of State support the 30-day notice requirement under the Protection of Employees Act 1977 in so far as it would apply to all collective redundancies, including in the case of Clerys?

I wish to focus on section 224 of the Companies Act 2014. It states directors shall have regard to the interests of employees. It provides that "The matters to which the directors of a company are to have regard in the performance of their functions shall include the interests of the company's employees in general, as well as the interests of its members." The directors obviously have an obligation to themselves, their shareholders and the company but, equally, they have an obligation to the employees. Is the Minister of State happy that section 224 of the Companies Act 2014 was complied with in the case of Clerys? Can he comment on that? My other question was on the 30-day notice requirement under the Protection of Employment Act.


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