Almost two years after losing their jobs, former Clerys workers are getting compensation

The full details of the settlement are confidential.

By Fora Staff

FORMER WORKERS FROM the Clerys department store are to get a financial settlement almost two years after the iconic Dublin city retailer unexpectedly shut down in controversial circumstances.

The settlement was reached as part of a deal between the Justice for the Clerys Workers Campaign and Natrium, which bought the former department store.

As part of the deal, Siptu has dropped its opposition to a planning application for the redevelopment of the valuable property on O’Connell St.

The exact details of the settlement for the former Clerys workers have not been made public, however campaigners said they were happy with the settlement.

Clerys was shut down and its trading business liquidated without warning in June 2015 after the company was taken over by Natrium. More than 450 people lost their jobs.

Previous owners Gordon Brothers, who bought Clerys out of receivership in 2012, had split the business into two arms – a profitable company that owned the property, and a loss-making trading company that employed the staff.

The state was left to pick up the €2 million redundancy bill for workers who lost their jobs as the firm that employed them was wound up.

Siptu’s Ethel Buckley said: ”Most people in Ireland are aware of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the closure of Clerys in June 2015 after over 160 years of operation.”

“Today, we can begin to close that sad chapter in the history of workers’ rights in Dublin and embark on a new phase of mutual respect and cooperation between workers and the site’s developers”.

New era

Buckley described the deal as “the beginning of a new era of mutually beneficial cooperation between Dublin City Council, community organisations, trade unions and business”.

The redevelopment of the Clerys building, which dates back to 1853, will see a hotel, shops, office space and restaurants opened on the site.

Today’s statement said the agreement with Natrium – a joint venture between Irish investment group D2 Private and UK-based Cheyne Capital Management – included “a process to recognise the service of former Clerys workers when it comes to gaining employment in the new development”.

It also said deals had been struck on working conditions at the site during both its construction and operational stages, and a process to ensure local communities benefited from training and work opportunities.

Speaking at Mansion House, Natrium’s Deirdre Foley said her company was looking forward to proceeding with the development of the building, which she added will take about three years.

When asked whether she had any comment to make in relation to the treatment of the ex-Clerys workers, Foley said she was “not here today to talk about the past”.

Reporting by Christine Bohan, Cormac Fitzgerald and Peter Bodkin