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Debenhams workers postpone Saturday protest pending settlement talks

The workers are calling on the liquidation process to be frozen or extended until after the Covid-19 crisis.

Debenhams workers protesting outside Debenhams on Henry Street Dublin for the 100th day since they were layed off, 18 July.
Debenhams workers protesting outside Debenhams on Henry Street Dublin for the 100th day since they were layed off, 18 July.
Image: Sam Boal

A PROTEST ORGANISED for this Saturday by former Debenhams workers has been postponed to allow for settlement talks to take place.

A protest was held yesterday at 2.15pm, at the National Convention Centre where the Dáil is convening, and a national protest had been scheduled for this Saturday 1 August, but is now being postponed until 8 August.

In a statement shared on social media, Debenhams workers announced the protest had been postponed:

“We have decided to postpone the national protest until Saturday 8 August to give time for talks to progress regarding a settlement for Debenhams workers.”

Trade Union Mandate, who are representing workers in negotiations, told TheJournal.ie that discussions are ongoing and “haven’t yet reached a conclusion”.

“We continue to work diligently with all parties involved in order to achieve the best possible negotiated outcome for our members.”

The protest due to take place on Saturday’s protest wasn’t a Mandate organised event; the decision to postpone the protest was a unilateral decision taken by its organisers, the trade union said.

The Debenhams workers have been protesting and campaigning for 17 weeks for a fair redundancy settlement from their former employer. Over 1,000 workers lost jobs across the country as a result of the closure of the Irish arm of the UK chain in April.

Debenhams also closed its 142 stores in the UK, and 22,000 staff were placed on furlough. The UK department store dates back to 1778. The company had four stores in Dublin, two in Cork and others in Galway, Limerick, Newbridge, Tralee and Waterford.

Some workers had almost 30 years’ service at Debenhams.

Jane Crowe, the Mandate shop steward for Debenhams in Dublin, argued that the Debenhams stores are still profitable and could open again after the coronavirus crisis.

The workers are calling on the liquidation process to be frozen or extended until after the Covid-19 crisis.

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Debenhams workers from across the country have been joined by family, trade unionists and delegations from parties who have supported their campaign.

- with reporting from Adam Daly and Cónal Thomas

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