9 April 2021
By Mary Bermingham
Sinn Fein TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, has today sent solidarity to the ex-Debenham’s workers today one year on from the closure of Debenhams Ireland stores and the laying off of workers without a fair redundancy.
Teachta Gould said:
“Today is a stark reminder of the attitude of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to the ordinary workers in this state. 12 months on from the start of the Debenhams strike and they have still failed to bring forward legislation that would see these workers entitled to a fair redundancy.
“For too long now, workers have come at the bottom of the pecking order in situations of liquidation. Sinn Fein have legislation that will change that and restore strength to collective bargaining.
“The ex-Debenhams workers have shown resilience and determination in their battle. I want to send them a clear message of solidary, pride and support today. They have stood their ground and never faltered. For that, they must be commended.
“It is unfortunate that government TDs who once stood on the picket line with the Debenhams workers will likely remain silent today. When Sinn Fein say they believe in worker’s rights, we mean it.
“The treatment of Debenhams workers has been frankly appalling. The company is walking away from its responsibility to staff and away from any form of constructive engagement with unions.
“The workers believe that the intention of Debenhams is to asset those stores and funnel the profits back into its British operation leaving their workers here high and dry. They have balloted for industrial action and places pickets on the stores to prevent stock being moved out.
“These workers have been campaigning for a fair and just settlement for one year now. They have been abandoned by Debenhams and are left with only basic state supports instead of the negotiated agreed redundancy rate. That is wholly unfair and unacceptable.
“We have been here time and time again – Clerys, La Senza, Paris Bakery, and now Debenhams.
“The reality is, companies can only engage in this behaviour because successive governments have let them do so through their failure to legislate to protect workers.”