SIPTU has said the Government must produce a legislative response to ensure the situation at Clerys department store in Dublin can never arise again.

Speaking after an hour-long meeting with Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash, SIPTU Vice President Gene Mealy said insolvency legislation was not robust enough to deal with the situation in which the Clerys workers had found themselves. 

He said the minister had told them he was now carrying out a "scoping exercise" and would be producing a report for Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

He said Tánaiste Joan Burton had asked to be kept appraised on an ongoing basis.

Mr Mealy said SIPTU would be working with the minister over the coming weeks until their demands are satisfied.

He said it was "shameful" that people who had worked for the company for 40 years or more were treated the way they had been.

A spokesperson for Mr Nash described the meeting as good, adding that they would be remaining in contact with the unions.

A protest took place this afternoon outside Clerys in support of workers who lost their jobs when the company went into liquidation last Friday.

Hundreds of people gathered under the clock at Clerys and worker representatives thanked the public for their support.

Signatures were gathered on a petition calling for the new owners of Clerys to meet with the workers.

Earlier, the provisional liquidator Eamonn Richardson and Kieran Wallace of KPMG confirmed that the 130 employees will get only basic statutory redundancy.

It is understood that during an early morning meeting with Mr Nash, the provisional liquidators confirmed that there was no funding available for any additional ex-gratia redundancy payments.

Mr Wallace and Mr Richardson are believed to have outlined the chain of events leading to the closure of the store on Friday.

It is understood the liquidators' priority is to ensure that all staff receive their P45 forms by the end of this week to facilitate social welfare claims.

They are understood to have told the minister that the reason for the speedy closure of the company was because the operations subsidiary was losing money so quickly.

Mr Nash was said to have also raised the situation of the 50 concession holders who employ about 330 staff.

He requested that their claims for return of stock and money owing to them from Clerys be expedited.

The minister briefed the Cabinet following the meeting.

The liquidators also met union representatives at Liberty Hall this morning.

The liquidators declined to comment as they left the building.

Mr Nash said he does not have any statutory function in the situation and that officials from the Department of Social Protection are working closely with the liquidator and staff to make sure that payments are expedited and processed.

He told RTÉ’s News at One that this particular episode has left a very bad taste in the mouths of all Government ministers and the public.

He said if it is a case that the Government needs to examine the structures that are in place at the moment, then the Government should do that.

Minister Nash said that there is no sense that the company have not behaved within the law, but that there is a difference between the law and the way Government would encourage businesses to operate and behave.

He said that the new owners of the company should engage with the workers; explain the situation to them and explain to him, as Minister for Employment, what their plans for the site are.

SIPTU Sector Organiser Teresa Hannick described the meeting as "robust and frank".

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Ms Hannick said the liquidator informed them there was no money and no funds.

She said the liquidators told them that they have had no engagement with Gordon Brothers, the previous owners of Clerys nor have they had any engagement with Natrium, the consortium which took over Clerys.

SIPTU said workers are demanding to meet representatives of Natrium and said the way workers have been treated is completely unacceptable.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the way Clerys workers were treated was "very insensitive" and the matter could have been handled a lot better.

Taoiseach says treatment of Clerys workers was 'very insensitive'

He welcomed the talks that are taking place today.

The Department of Social Protection has confirmed that it is to hold briefing sessions for those who have been made redundant to explain their entitlements.

Concession holders seeking legal advice

Concession holders who were operating businesses within Clerys have said they are seeking legal advice on accessing stock held on the premises and the return of monies held in trust for them by the store.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, David Jones of Best Menswear said he had been told by the liquidator on Friday that there were no funds available and they would not be paid.

He said this had prompted concession holders to join forces with legal advisers appointed to contact the liquidators for clarification.

Mr Jones said he would be able to relocate some, but not all, of the staff that had been employed in the business at Clerys.

Helen Lynch, of Best of Irish Design, said unless the situation was resolved within the next two to three days, her business, which employed 18 people,  would have to shut down.