Clerys' new owners in pension dispute with staff

Friday 28 September 2012 20.39
Protests at decision to close Clerys' pension scheme
Protests at decision to close Clerys' pension scheme

The new owners of Dublin department store Clerys are in dispute with staff representatives over the status of the company's defined benefit pension scheme.

US private equity group Gordon Brothers bought the store earlier this month after it was placed into receivership.

A statement from Gordon Brothers said that the Clerys' pension scheme did not transfer over to them as part of the sale.

''It is a legacy matter for the trustees who are dealing with it at the moment,'' it added.

The company said it has put in place a new pension scheme for Clerys' employees. ''It will be a defined contribution scheme and employees will be eligible to participate in this pension scheme,'' it added.

Gordon Brothers also said that Clerys was in a ''stressed state'' for some time, and had several legacy issues including an unsustainable debt burden, a defined benefit pension scheme in significant deficit and stores which were losing money on a consistent basis.

''It is inconceivable that any investor would have bought and committed to investing in companies with the depth and extent of issues faced by Clery & Co. The unfortunate reality is that there was no queue of potential buyers,'' Gordon Brothers said.

The shop's SIPTU members plan to hold a protest in O'Connell Street next Tuesday to show their dismay at the decision.

SIPTU's Graham Macken said that union members are also concerned about the closure of the Guiney's shops in Dublin and outlets in Blanchardstown, Naas, and Sandyford.