After 300 Days People Before Profit Salutes The Debenhams Workers

Richard Boyd Barrett TD condemns failure of government to act to meet their just demands

People Before Profit wish to pay tribute to the Debenhams workers who have been fighting for 300 days for a just settlement of their dispute.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “The Debenhams workers have been one of the shining lights in the last year. They have fought with great dignity for the rights of all workers who are made redundant. In very difficult circumstances they have picketed, marched, occupied, lobbied and even got arrested to advance their demands for justice.

“In contrast the government has failed time and time again to meet their just demands. All the workers have got is lots of sympathy but no substantial offer to settle their dispute.

“There are many ways this dispute could be solved. At a minimum the €3 million allocated for the proposed training fund for Debenhams workers should be converted to cash.

“The government could agree with the liquidator, as it did in the case of the Irish Banking Resolution Corporation in 2014, to set aside a sum of money to facilitate termination payments. That resulted in the IBRC workers getting €5.5 million.

“Finally, it could take up the suggestion of Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Willie O’Dea TD and set up a supplementary welfare fund specifically to cover redundancy shortfalls. This will benefit all workers made redundant in this difficult time.

“In these extraordinary times the government has taken extraordinary measures to support businesses, some of whom remain profitable. It must now take similar measures to support workers made redundant in these difficult times.”