Adams exposes Fine Gael and Labour hypocrisy on Clerys
Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD has strongly criticised Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Fine Gael and the Labour Party for expressing sympathy for workers who have lost their jobs at Clerys in Dublin while voting down legislation which would have alleviated their plight.
Teachta Adams,along with colleagues Mary Lou McDonald TD, Senator David Cullinane and Sinn Féin members of Dublin City Council, joined Clerys workers and members of the public today at a rally on O’Connell Street in support of 400 employees who lost their jobs on Friday.
Later in the Dáil, Teachta Adams raised the issue directly with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. He said there was no point in Taoiseach Kenny expressing sympathy with Clerys Workers when the Government is partly to blame for their dilemma.
Teachta Adams said:
“We have been here before. Workers at Waterford Crystal, Talk Talk, La Senza, Lagan Brick, Vita Cortex, Game and others were frustrated in accessing basic rights and entitlements.
“However, three years ago you rejected Sinn Fein’s Protection of Employees (Amendment Bill) 2012 which sought to legislate for these scenarios. This sought to enhance the period of notice for workers made redundant and to expedite the hearing and processing of claims to entitlements.
“One of the Clerys workers asked me today why would the Government do this? Why would a Labour Party do this?
“Taoiseach, will you now, belatedly legislate to protect workers like those at Clerys? Will the Government, for instance, extend the period of notice legally required in collective redundancies and impose penalties for non-compliance?
“Will you provide a time limit within which applications for redress for employees like those in Clerys will be heard? Will you go beyond the expressions of sympathy and actually defend the rights of workers where their employers fail to pay money due to them?”
Teachta Adams pointed out that today’s rally in support of the Clerys workers took place opposite the memorial to Jim Larkin who was arrested as he addressed crowds from the balcony of Clerys during the 1913 Lockout.
“The Clerys workers were also effectively locked out. The manner in which they have been treated is appalling and unacceptable. These people have families, dependents, mortgages, loans and bills to pay like everyone else. They were last paid two weeks ago.
“In contrast to the workers, Boston-based Gordon Brothers, who sold Clerys to the Natrium consortium, have reputedly pocketed €19 million after putting less than €2 million into the store. Meanwhile Natrium has refused even to acknowledge the existence of Clerys employees.
“What kind of message is sent to workers across this State when they see Clerys staff who, over many years showed loyal service, abided by the rules and made profits for their employers, yet are treated with contempt?”
The Sinn Fein Leader said the rights and entitlements of workers in such situations must be protected and that all money due to them must be processed as quickly as possible and asked the Taoiseach to all on Natrium to demonstrate some basic decency by meeting the workers’ representatives and said:
“Time and again, workers in this State have been left high and dry by unscrupulous employers. Much more robust legislation is needed to deal with these situations.”