Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
126. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he has engaged with workers and their trade union in relation to the appointment of provisional liquidators to a group (details supplied); the other steps he has taken to ensure that the company will honour the workers' collective agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43950/20]
Joint provisional liquidators have been appointed by the High Court to four Irish operating companies that are part of the UK fashion group Arcadia.
I extend my sympathies to the workers who are in danger of losing their jobs. I fully appreciate how difficult the situation is for those involved.
I understand that it is hoped to procure the sale of the Irish operations as part of an overall sale of the group and that the Irish stores will continue to trade through Christmas to maximise the value of stock. The Government hopes a suitable and sustainable buyer can be found, and that any potential job losses can be avoided.
It is the responsibility of the employer in the first instance to pay statutory redundancy and other wage related entitlements to employees. Negotiations on enhanced redundancy are a matter for the liquidator and former employees, taking into account the statutory duty to realise and distribute the assets of an insolvent company in the order prescribed by law. Government has no statutory role in this.
The Social Insurance Fund provides a safety net for employees to ensure they receive statutory entitlements in situations where the employer cannot pay due to insolvency. Entitlements covered include statutory redundancy payments, arrears of wages, holiday pay and sick pay.
The Companies Act 2014 provides safeguards to ensure that a liquidation process complies with the relevant statutory requirements.
Workers also have rights as creditors under company law and they can execute their lawful rights through the courts.They, or their representatives, can go to court on any question arising in the winding up of a company.
Government will work in a coordinated way to support any person who loses their job. Supports include welfare entitlements, job-search assistance and upskilling opportunities