On Day 222 Debenhams Workers Demand That Taoiseach Intervenes

Jane Crowe

On day 222 of their fight for their 2 + 2 (Two weeks statutory redundancy pay per year plus two weeks, negotiated with Debenhams in 2016) Debenhams workers called on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to intervene in their dispute and convene talks involving the government, Debenhams shop stewards, Mandate and KPMG. They also called on the public to boycott Debenhams online store.

Socially distanced protests are being held today at picket lines throughout the country and at Dáil Éireann, Kildare St., at 1.00pm.

Jane Crowe, Shop Steward Henry Street (Dublin) said:

“This strike has gone on long enough. Debenhams workers across all eleven of the former stores have maintained a struggle for 222 days.  We have picketed, protested, maintained 24 hour watches, endured arrests and injunctions and yet our members are determined as ever to get justice.  We have endured these hardships and will carry on our struggle into the depths of winter because we are convinced of the rightness of our cause.”

Valerie Conlon, Shop Steward, Patrick St (Cork) said:

“I am calling on Taoiseach Micheál Martin to intervene in our dispute now. He has condemned Debenhams and said we were treated shabbily. He has promised to meet Mandate. We need him to act now. We believe a decent settlement can be reached but only if brokered by the government.

“KPMG indicated last month at the Workplace Relations Commission that they will walk away from their responsibility as liquidators on 23rd December. There is a stark choice confronting the government. Either allow the current situation to drift for the remainder of the year whereby possibly no creditors, the workers or the taxpayer will get any satisfaction. Or alternatively facilitate a real engagement between all the stakeholders now that can agree a fair settlement from the disposal of the stock that does not leave the workers with nothing beyond the statutory minimum. We have written to all TDs and Senators requesting that they use whatever opportunity they have today in the chambers to apply pressure on the government.”

Carol Quinn, Shop Steward, Tallaght said:

“Today we are launching our boycott campaign and call on the public not to purchase items from Debenhams online service in the run up to Christmas. Shoppers in the North and Britain, where a significant number of stores are still operating, should not shop in Debenhams. The online business remains lucrative although its revenues have been siphoned by the UK parent. Debenhams UK are effectively blocking the use of revenue from online sales to resolve the workers demand for our 2 plus 2.  Shoppers should send a clear signal to Debenhams that they will not continue to shop with a company that has treated its workers so badly”.

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