Seanad debates

Thursday, 14 January 2016

10:30 am

Photo of Terry BrennanTerry Brennan (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I welcome yesterday's announcement by the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Deputy Burton, that Mr. David Begg will be the new chairperson of the Pensions Authority. In this position, Mr. Begg will bring with him extensive expertise in trade union affairs, pensions and corporate governance. I wish him well in his forthcoming role.

Last July, I expressed my abhorrence and disdain at the treatment given to Clerys workers following the sudden closure of their department store. There is no doubt that their treatment was totally unacceptable, as many of my colleagues in this House agreed. Clerys had a loyal work force, many of whom had worked in excess of 40 years and gave their entire working lives to that company. Legal issues were totally disregarded by the management. The legal requirement for a consultation period of 30 days with employees was not implemented prior to the redundancies in the company.

It is necessary to urgently amend sections of the Protection of Employment Act. As legislators, we must ensure that issues such as Clerys are addressed with appropriate protective legislation. No doubt we will encounter similar treatment of workers by other employers if we do not take immediate action. We must do something urgently.I am calling for an urgent debate on this issue and for the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Gerald Nash, who was in the House yesterday and who recently issued a report to Government on the sale and liquidation of Clerys, to debate this issue with Members in the Seanad as soon as possible.


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