Deputy Bríd Smith of People Before Profit today called on the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar again to intervene in the long running saga of the Debenhams dispute. This time the payment of a €3 million Training and Education for redundant trade union members who took strike action for over a year to secure a two week plus two week redundancy payment, has been seriously delayed.
According to Deputy Smith: “After a long hard struggle where the Debenhams workers met blank walls with the company, the liquidators and the Government to try to get improved redundancy rights, a Labour Court recommendation issued last December was finally agreed to by the workers in April. It is almost September and not a single euro of the €3 million training and education fund has been made available to the workers. This adds insult to injury to these workers who endured a long struggle and became renowned for the manner in which their strike was broken up by the Gardai and the liquidators during the lock down.”
Bríd Smith TD has written to the Tánaiste and requested that he intervene by insisting that the issue is progressed, and the funding released before it is too late for workers to apply for courses, most of them starting in September.
According to Deputy Smith: “Any further delay would be intolerable and the Tánaiste needs to establish why this delay is happening and ensure that all road blocks to these workers accessing that training fund are removed immediately. It is totally unacceptable that the system continually fails workers who are blameless in this crisis but are victims of the behaviour of commercial interests and the lack of protective legislation for workers.”
“The political establishment has failed workers like redundant Debenhams workers by not legislating in accordance with Duffy Cahill following the Clerys debacle. It is now the duty of the Minister and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to ensure through his department that these workers are not failed again by the political system.”