12 September 2016

Senator Ged Nash has said that the proposals contained in an expert review carried out this year by former Labour Court Chair Kevin Duffy and company law expert Nessa Cahill must be implemented without further delay.

Speaking in the wake of the liquidation of the remaining HMV stores, he said, “I commissioned this report in light of very serious concerns illustrated by the Clery’s scandal and other such liquidations where company directors are able to hide behind company law and exploit the protections afforded by limited liability and corporate insolvency arrangements to avoid discharging their responsibilities to their staff and other creditors.

“The deficits in the legislative framework have again been exposed by the scandalous treatment of HMV staff.
“Staff who were informed weeks ago that they were to be let go were promised in writing that they would receive redundancy payments from the company.

“We are now expected to accept that the sudden liquidation of the company, which was executed the night before the redundancy payments fell due was pure coincidence or a case of unfortunate timing.

“In reality it amounts to sharp practice and a case of giving the two fingers to staff while the company directors hand the job of paying basic statutory redundancy entitlements over to the taxpayers.

“The Minister for Jobs needs to implement the recommendations of the Duffy-Cahill report which has been on her desk since she took office without any undue delay and take very swift action once the Company Law Review Group report has been handed to her.

“In the meantime, I believe she should undertake an examination of the questionable circumstances around the HMV liquidation.

“The Duffy-Cahill proposals include measures that would ensure under law that an obligation to carry out a formal 30 day employer-employee consultation process in the case of collective redundancies, whether a firm is insolvent or not, would have to be met.

“The expert recommendations, if implemented, would also see compensation paid to workers amounting to two years’ pay if the 30 day consultation period failed to be respected.

“This package of reforms, if implemented by the government, will provide significantly greater protections to workers caught up in insolvencies in the future.

“As each day passes, we are another day closer to another Clery’s or HMV type situation occurring under our deficient legislative framework.

“The Minister for Jobs must make a statement and inform us when she will change the law to protect workers.”

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