Former Debenhams workers on the picket line on International Women's Day outside The Square

By Maurice Garvey

ON INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day, female former Debenhams workers spent day number 333 on the picket line at The Square in Tallaght – as did their colleagues across the country.

Workers have been picketing since they were unceremoniously let go on April 9, 2020 - campaigning for a fair redundancy package and changes to legislation to ensure other employees are protected.

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Former Debenhams workers, on day number 333, protesting outside The Square, Tallaght on Monday

Carol Quinn, former shop steward in Debenhams Tallaght for 30 years said the pandemic has “hit women workers in retail, hospitality and healthcare the hardest.”

“On International Women's Day, we need to acknowledge and celebrate the brilliant campaign the Debenhams workers have fought,” said Ms Quinn.

“We have led the fight for all workers who will be laid off as a result of the pandemic. We have shown the need to change the law to protect workers like us.

“The whole trade union movement, including the leadership of ICTU, must publicly acknowledge what we have achieved in pushing for legislative change. We need their support for a final push to convert the €3 million training fund into cash for the workers, in compensation for not being paid their 2 plus 2.

“We also need to ensure the fight for new legislation continues so that the government does not fail to act again as it did after the Clerys dispute.”

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith, is among those supporting the workers and says women have been in the frontline of the struggle for workers’ rights throughout the pandemic.

Deputy Smith said: “Women workers have shown how important they are to society. While we all acknowledged them by clapping, it's now time to address the real issues facing women workers. We need to end the blight of low pay, provide statutory sick pay and maternity pay and put a state run and funded childcare system in place.”

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