27/04/2016

Report On Issues Of Employee Legal Protection Published

The report of two experts tasked to examine employee protection legislation has been published by the Minister for Business and Employment, and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton, and Minister for Business, Ged Nash, published the report on Tuesday, following a briefing given to the Dáil.

The publication follows the announcement in January of a twin-track approach to this issue. The approach involved the appointment of two experts to examine the legal protections for workers and the interface between company and employment law.

The examination was to specifically look at situations where valuable assets in a company are separated from the operating entity, and how the position of employees can be better protected in such situations.

In addition, Minister Bruton requested the Company Law Review Group to review company law with a view to recommending ways company law could be potentially amended to ensure better safeguards for employees and unsecured creditors.

Kevin Duffy, Chairperson of the Labour Court, and Nessa Cahill BL, a company law specialist, were given eight weeks to examine existing legislation and to also consider new solutions on how to best protect the interests of workers in such cases.

Both Ministers thanked the two experts involved for their report and also wish to acknowledge the efficiency and quality of the experts' work, which focused on seeking balanced and pragmatic solutions to the issues in question. 

Minister Bruton said: "We saw with the appalling events at Clerys what can happen when the interface between company law and employment law is exploited in such a way as to create consequences never intended by these carefully constructed systems of law. There have also been other recent cases where similar things have happened. That is why we decided to ask experts to take a look at these issues and provide recommendations on what could be done to prevent similar situations happening again. I wish to thank Kevin and Nessa for their detailed and prompt work on these issues".

Minister Nash added: "This is an important piece of work and complements the suite of actions that we have taken since the overnight closure of Clerys in June last year, leaving 460 workers without jobs and without due recognition for years of dedicated service. My priority has always been to do everything possible to ensure a similar situation cannot occur in another company here.  I want to thank Kevin Duffy and Nessa Cahill for their work and once again pay tribute to the Clerys workers who, despite their appalling treatment by the owners, have behaved with dignity and resolve throughout."

(MH/CD)

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