Debenhams workers send Open Letter to ICTU calling for more support
Level of active support for strike must be increased
ICTU must send delegation to Waterford Occupation
This morning a representative of the Debenhams workers presented a letter to the offices of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) calling for more support in their dispute with Debenhams.
Upon delivering the letter, Jane Crowe, former shop steward for the Debenhams store in Henry Street, said:
“Having gone over the 170th day of pickets we the Debenhams shop stewards have presented this letter to ICTU calling for more support in our dispute with Debenhams.
“While we have received some support from the wider trade union movement, the level of active support does not measure up to the significance of this dispute for us and workers more generally.
“We are asking ICTU to get their members to support us on the picket lines so that we can prevent the company from removing the stock from the stores. This is the only way we can ensure that we have any bargaining power in the current situation. This is our main avenue to the two weeks per year of service plus two weeks statutory redundancy, which had been agreed previously with the company.
“We are also calling in ICTU to send a delegation to show solidarity and support with the Debenhams workers who are occupying the store in Waterford. We also want ICTU to make a statement condemning the actions of the liquidator, KPMG, in seeking to remove stock from Debenhams. The actions of the Gardaí in assisting KPMG must be condemned. Their actions in arresting strikers should also be condemned.
“We crucially want ICTU to put pressure on the government to intervene to put pressure on KPMG and resolve this dispute. 173 days has been a monumental effort by the Debenhams workers, but the union movement needs to step up to the plate and give us more support. The Trade Union movement needs to understand that this dispute has ramifications for all workers in Ireland. If other companies see Debenhams getting away with this type of behaviour there is a strong likelihood that other companies will try to do the same.”