6 July 2022
By Elaine Murphy
Representatives of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) will address an Oireachtas Committee this morning and urge all political parties to support Socialist Party TD Mick Barry’s “Debenhams Bill”.
ICTU representative Luam Berney will tell the committee: “The Bill we are discussing here today is an attempt to ensure that what happened to the worker in Clery’s, Debenhams and in Connolly Shoes can never happen again and we would urge all political parties to support it.”
The comments will be made at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment as part of the “detailed scrutiny” involved in passing a Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas.
“Detailed scrutiny” takes places after a Bill has won a majority in an initial Dáil vote and before amendments are invited and considered.
Deputy Barry’s Bill is officially titled the Companies (Protection of Employees’ Rights in Liquidations) Bill 2021 but is widely known as the “Debenhams Bill” as it was inspired by the 406-day struggle of the Debenhams workers for a fair redundancy package.
The Bill aims to put workers at the head of the queue for payouts in any liquidation process and to make collective agreements between workers and their employer recognised in law as a debt in any liquidation situation.
The Bill will be opposed by representatives of IBEC.
Deputy Barry said this morning: “I look forward to engaging with representatives of the Congress of Trade Unions and with IBEC this morning. It is vital that the Oireachtas passes the Debenhams Bill and increases rights for workers in liquidation situations. What was done to the Debenhams workers should never be allowed happen to any group of workers again.”
The hearing will commence in Committee Room 2 at 9.30am.