Debenhams staff protest ‘to get what they deserve’

By Maurice Garvey

FORMER Debenhams staff from Tallaght continue to campaign to “get what we deserve”, as the battle continues to secure a proper redundancy package.

On April 9, close to 1,000 staff at Debenhams 11 Irish stores were informed by generic email that the company would be going into liquidation and asked them to contact social welfare.

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Debenhams staff protesting last month

This includes some 100 employees at the store in The Square, which was performing “really well”, according to staff who spoke with The Echo.

“Staff are in the Dáil today (Wednesday May 13) protesting and the union are trying to get support from Minister Regina Doherty,” said Kilnamanagh resident Marie Leonard, Sales Advisor at Debenhams, Tallaght for 30 years.

“People are still very upset the way it happened and the lack of respect shown by the company. Ideally we would like our jobs back but now we want to make sure we get a fair redundancy.”

This week, Debenhams staff voted overwhelmingly to strike and block stock from being removed from the chain’s stores and warehouses.

Valerie Conlon, a shop steward with Debenhams in Cork for 24 years, said that stock across the 11 stores nationwide is valued at between €20m and €25m.

Staff believe liquidated Irish stock and money from should be going into the Irish pot and not be moved back to the UK.

They want the company to pay two weeks redundancy pay per year worked in addition to statutory redundancy.

Staff want the Irish government to step up and help them secure a fair support package.

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