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'These workers deserve respect': Debenhams staff stage protests outside 11 stores across country

The closure of the Irish branches of Debenhams saw the loss of 2,000 jobs.

003 Debenhams Protest Debenhams workers protesting outside the store on Henry Street, Dublin today Leah Farrell Leah Farrell

MANDATE TRADE UNION is hosting 11 demonstrations outside all Debenhams stores across Ireland this afternoon.

In early April, the company announced that it would not re-open its stores after the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The closure of the stores saw the loss of 2,000 jobs and was announced after the UK retailer told staff that the business would be going into liquidation. 

The company had operated four stores in Dublin, two in Cork and others in Galway, Limerick, Newbridge, Tralee and Waterford.

On Wednesday, Debenhams staff took to the streets outside the Dáil to call on politicians to take action to protect the jobs of workers. 

The action outside the Dáil today followed on from other socially-distanced protests in recent weeks by staff calling on the company to offer full redundancy packages. 

Mandate confirmed that today’s protests will last no longer than an hour, with all participants adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

Tweet by @Cllr. Tina MacVeigh PBP Cllr. Tina MacVeigh PBP / Twitter Cllr. Tina MacVeigh PBP / Twitter / Twitter

The workers are calling for the parent company to pay the collectively agreed union negotiated redundancy package to all Debenhams workers. 

Currently, many workers will only receive statutory redundancy. 

“These workers, like all workers, deserve respect, dignity and to have their collective agreement with their company adhered to,” Mandate general secretary John Douglas said. 

Douglas said the workers have done a “tremendous job in making the public aware of their struggle for justice which has garnered incredible national and international support”.  

He has also called on Minister for Employment Affairs Regina Doherty to intervene in the liquidation process in an effort to save jobs if possible.

The Covid-19 pandemic has already had a severe impact on the Irish economy. According to the Central Statistics Office, there are now 602,107 people in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment while 425,204 people are benefiting from the government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme. 

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