| 17.6°C Belfast

Debenhams workers mark 100th day of redundancy dispute

Protests were held outside closed stores across the country.

Close

Debenhams workers stage a protest outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre on the 100th day of their industrial dispute on redundancy payouts (PA)

Debenhams workers stage a protest outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre on the 100th day of their industrial dispute on redundancy payouts (PA)

Debenhams workers stage a protest outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre on the 100th day of their industrial dispute on redundancy payouts (PA)

Former Debenhams workers have marked the 100th day of their dispute over redundancy terms by staging a series of protests around Ireland.

The staff claim the package offered to them when the company was liquidated in the spring was unfair.

They are set to receive statutory redundancy payouts of two weeks of salary per year of service. The workers are demanding four weeks’ pay per service year.

They are also calling on the Government to waive monies owed to it through the liquidation process so they can be used to boost the redundancy packages.

Close

People attend a protest by Debenhams workers outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

People attend a protest by Debenhams workers outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

People attend a protest by Debenhams workers outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

Liquidator KPMG is set to use proceeds of the liquidation of assets to pay off key creditors, such as the Revenue Commissioners and other state bodies.

The workers have been blocking the removal of stock from the stores since their closure.

KPMG has warned that the blockade of the stock removal is slowing the liquidation process.

The Irish arm of Debenhams, which operated 11 stores in the country, was placed into liquidation in April.

The store closures came after the UK parent company entered administration and ended its financial support of the Irish business.

Close

Eileen Courage, a Debenhams employee for 22 years, at the protest outside the store on Henry Street (Brian Lawless/PA)

Eileen Courage, a Debenhams employee for 22 years, at the protest outside the store on Henry Street (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA

Eileen Courage, a Debenhams employee for 22 years, at the protest outside the store on Henry Street (Brian Lawless/PA)

Around 950 staff were employed directly by Debenhams Retail Ireland, with an additional 500 workers at in-store concession stands operated by other retailers.

Many Debenhams stores in the UK have reopened despite the company’s financial difficulties after striking deals with landlords.

At Saturday’s protest outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin, shop steward Jane Crowe said stopping the removal of the stock gave the workers some leverage in the dispute.

“We are not a large group, we are on picket 24 hours a day around at the loading bay to hold onto the stock as leverage, they’re not getting that until they sit down and talk to us,” she said.

She added: “I am immensely proud of our members who have stood up to Debenhams, who are standing up to the Government and who have fought right the way through the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is no way we are giving up now. (Taoiseach) Micheal Martin needs to understand that the time for words has passed, now is the time for action and we are demanding that he deliver.”

Long-time worker Sam Soliman was among those who addressed the demonstration.

“We are here to demand our right and our respect,” she said.

PA