Pictures: Debenhams dispute reaches 150 days as workers protest in Cork 

Pictures: Debenhams dispute reaches 150 days as workers protest in Cork 

"KPMG ARE YOU JOKING??" asks a young attendee Erika Dorgan at Mahon Point, Co Cork on Saturday 5th September 2020. 

Debenhams workers protested in Cork today, as they continue their fight for an improved redundancy package from from the company. 

Tomorrow marks 150 days since the workers started protesting and they have no plans to stop, despite a potential redundancy deal negotiated this week.

The company, which had been in financial trouble for some time, closed its stores in Cork and nationwide earlier this summer.  Carol Bridgeman, Mandate shop steward. Picture: Larry Cummins

 Carol Bridgeman, Mandate shop steward. Picture: Larry Cummins Natasha Crowley with Louie and Jamie O'Connell. Picture: Larry Cummins
Carol Bridgeman, Mandate shop steward. Picture: Larry Cummins Natasha Crowley with Louie and Jamie O'Connell. Picture: Larry Cummins

“Not good news” is how the potential deal was described by a Cork staff member yesterday. 

Valerie Conlon, Mandate shop steward at the Debenhams store on Patrick’s Street, said that they were informed of a potential deal on a zoom call with Mandate and SIPTU on Thursday.

She explained that staff are entitled to statutory redundancy, which is two weeks' pay for every year of service, plus one additional week's pay. That totals between €10 and €11 million for all staff in the 11 stores across the country.

According to Ms Conlon, this deal has offered just an additional €1 million to workers between the 11 stores which she said is far less than what they were looking for.

“We will get the statutory redundancy anyway, but then instead of the extra two weeks (per year of service) that we are looking for, which would be another €10 or €11 million, we have been offered €1 million,” Ms Conlon told The Echo.

She said that staff wouldn’t accept that amount. All union staff will now receive a detailed document on the proposed deal, which will be followed by a postal ballot of members to see if they accept what’s on the table.

In a statement, Mandate Trade Union said they had negotiated “a potential resolution” to the ongoing despite over redundancy for Debenhams staff.

That includes “a financial settlement offer as well as guaranteed employment for a number of Debenhams staff as a new leaseholder takes control of at least three stores.” 

Gerry Light, Mandate General Secretary said: “This deal was only made possible because of the resilience and determination of our Debenhams members who have stood on picket lines through hail, rain and even storms over the last four months.

“They have lobbied, protested and raised consciousness of their plight through the media. They are a credit to their union and to themselves.” 

Further protests also took place around the country. 

Pictured is Anna Bialocka former Debenham worker, protesting outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin. 
Pictured is Anna Bialocka former Debenham worker, protesting outside the store on Henry Street in Dublin. 

More in this section

Sponsored Content