Pickets set to continue outside Debenhams stores

Pickets set to continue outside Debenhams stores
Debenhams staff blockade cash in transit van, removing cash from the rear of Debenhams Ireland Cork store, on Merchant Street, Cork.Picture: Jim Coughlan.

Ongoing pickets will be held outside Debenhams stores across the country following an attempt to remove some assets from Cork’s Patrick Street store on Tuesday.

The incident sparked official Mandate Trade Union strike pickets at both the Patrick’s Street and Mahon Point Shopping Centre stores.

Staff from the Patrick’s street store were involved in a stand-off with a van which went on for a number of hours. It’s understood the van contained some cash that had been taken from the store.

In a recent ballot for industrial action, 97% of Debenhams workers voted in favour.

One of the objectives of this campaign, according to Mandate Trade Union, was to prevent any asset-stripping from the stores, and to put pressure on the Debenhams parent company in the UK to pay a fair union negotiated redundancy package to their staff in Ireland.

Commenting on the first two of many planned pickets Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said: “Mandate stands fully behind our Debenhams members' demand for a reasonable and fair redundancy package. These workers have been disgracefully treated by their employer and their anguish and frustration is exacerbated by attempts by the company on Tuesday (26th May) to remove assets from one of the stores.

“Our members, legally protected by an official ballot for industrial action, stood firm.

“They are extremely single-minded in their determination to secure a fair redundancy package and their union will provide all the necessary support to help them achieve that justifiable objective,” he added.

Mr Light went on to say that any further attempts by Debenhams to undermine official pickets will be met with “strong and determined resistance”.

“These eleven Debenhams locations will be subject to ongoing pickets no matter who decides to operate a business from them and our campaign will incrementally intensify accordingly.

“This union and its members will do everything within its power to halt the transfer of valuable assets from all eleven locations until a fair and satisfactory resolution to this dispute has been agreed,” Mr Light concluded.

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