People Before Profit Cllr Shaun Harkin said,
“People Before Profit have been contacted by Debenhams workers following the announcement thousands are to be laid-off. Unfortunately, workers in Derry and across the North will be impacted.
We will be doing all we can to make sure workers rights are protected and force Debenhams and their consortium owners, Celine, to open their books if necessary.
Debenhams bosses have already broken the law by laying off workers over a conference call without a required consultation. They’re also forcing workers to go through lengthy tribunals to receive what they’re contractually owed.
Thousands of workers in 11 stores across the South were laid-off by Debenhams owners who then attempted to walk away from commitments they previously agreed to. The company moved assets to its parent UK company in a blatant and ruthless attempt to trample on redundancy rights of many workers who had dedicated decades of service.
This forced workers to respond with a tremendous campaign of solidarity involving protests and pickets at the stores and city centres and public meetings. Workers have blocked attempts by Debenhams bosses to move millions of Euros in assets out of the stores.
And workers have said they’re willing to occupy stores to protect their rights. People Before Profit and trade unions are seeking the passage of legislation in the Dáil that would block these types of smash and grabs on workers rights. We need to stop Debenhams bosses from using legal loopholes here also to carry out a similar smash and grab.
All workers are essential. We’re going to need solidarity and resistance if we want respect. Debenhams workers should link up their campaign North and South.”