Debenhams Ireland “must not use COVID crisis to abandon workers” says Cork TD

30 April 2020
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie


Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan has written to the Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation as well as the receiver appointed to Debenhams Irish stores to see what entitlements workers are due following the closure of the company’s branches in Cork and across the country.

Deputy O’Sullivan met with workers yesterday when he attended a rally in the city centre to pledge his support to them.

“Debenhams has been a staple in Cork for decades, and many of the workers transferred over to the company from Roches Stores. They have dedicated their lives to working in retail and have been in many respects the lifeblood of the city for so many years”, he said.

Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan

“The news of the closure came as a shock. While there had been difficulties in the company over the past number of years, when the announcement was made earlier this month, it came as a surprise to many; particularly given the fact that staff in the Cork branches had been implementing a cost cutting plan in a bid to secure the future of the stores.

“Workers are understandably angry and frustrated. They are only looking to be afforded a redundancy that reflects the years of work they have given to the company. I have written to the receiver and have asked for assurances that they will not use the COVID-19 crisis to evade the company’s responsibilities to their workers. I have also called on them to engage in a meaningful consultation process with the unions.

“It is imperative that a proper redundancy package, along with statutory entitlements is put forward. I hope that these negotiations can begin soon and that workers will receive a fair package”.

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