David Cullinane Moves Tactical Insolvency Bill
David Cullinane, Sinn Féin spokesperson for workers' rights, today moved a bill that would address tactical insolvencies such as that seen with Clerys two years ago.
Deputy Cullinane said:
On 12 June 2015 the 130-strong workforce of Clerys was sacked without notice, with another 330 workers employed by the store’s concession outlets locked out of their jobs and facing an equally uncertain future.
The workers did not receive the statutory redundancy lump sum from the new owners, nor were they paid monies owed in lieu of notice of redundancy and holiday pay.
The State was therefore obliged to pay those debts under the Insolvency Payments Scheme.
While none of this was illegal, it was obviously patently wrong.
In April 2016 a report was published which addressed the issues raised by the Clerys action.
I have drafted a Bill that would give legislative support to the main recommendations in that report.
It would provide protection for employees in collective redundancy situations where the employer is insolvent. It would give power to the High Court to return assets which have been improperly transferred and give preferential creditor status to employees.
It would also require a 30-day consultation period in cases where it is known that a company’s liabilities are such as to trigger redundancies.
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.
If we are really to have new politics, support for this bill is a way of showing it.