It is reported that up to 70 jobs in the North are being threatened by Debenhams as they continue to slash posts in order to cut costs. This is part of a move to cut 2,500 jobs across the UK, not long after 4,000 job cuts were announced back in May.
Debenhams have stores in Belfast, Derry, Craigavon, Ballymena and Newry and employ around 700 staff in the North. It is also reported that Debenhams plan to give remaining staff “flexible roles”, forcing them to make up the work that is being lost because of the cuts.
This news comes on the back of a spate of other job losses in the retail sector. Easons announced last month that they would be closing all their shops in the North, with 144 jobs being lost. Further jobs will be lost in Belfast with the closure of Tesco in Belfast City Centre.
In the South, the picture is very similar, with the cynical tactical liquidation of Debenhams being most high profile case.
The pattern developing across the retail sector is clear. The threat of redundancy hangs over tens of thousands of workers across the island of Ireland as many retail companies try to slash their costs, or use the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse to liquidate without paying workers their due.
But the Debenhams workers in the South have shown exactly how it is possible to fight back. They have gotten organised and have picketed their stores for over 4 months in demand of the redundancies they are owed.
Workers all over the island of Ireland should take inspiration from them – join a trade union, organise your workplace and fight back.