Union says Debenhams Ireland workers in Cork are secure

Union says Debenhams Ireland workers in Cork are secure
Debenhams, on St Patrick's Street. Pic; Larry Cummins

Amidst uncertainty over the future of Debenhams in the UK, Mandate Trade Union have reassured that employees across Debenhams' Irish stores are safe.

There are two stores in Cork, located on St Patrick's Street and in Mahon Point Shopping Centre with approximately 340 staff combined. The Mahon Point store was the first in Munster to be opened in 2005.

Debenhams went into administration in the UK and plan to close up to 50 underperforming stores and demand rent cuts in order to survive.

As a result, concerns were raised regarding the future of the eleven stores across Ireland, which came out of examinership back in 2016. Mandate Trade Union represent the majority of those employed by Debenhams Ireland and have held talks with the company on their behalf.

A spokesperson for Mandate Trade Union told The Echo that Debenhams is more secure than ever in Ireland, despite entering administration in the UK: "The company have said that the Irish business is more secure than it has been in the last six months, there is more certainty and peoples jobs for the foreseeable future are secure. It's business as usual in Ireland".

Debenhams has struggled over the years to cope with the growing number of shoppers choosing to shop online and have not been able to compete with online shops such as Amazon and Boohoo.

Meanwhile, despite the positive news from the union and Debenhams Ireland, the Consumers Association of Ireland has told Cork shoppers that based on past experience with other British high-street retailers going out of business, they should use any Debenhams gift card, voucher or store credit without delay, as to avoid being at a loss if the situation in the UK were to eventually affect the Irish stores.

A spokesperson for Consumers Association of Ireland said: The administration of Debenhams will not be an unusual piece of news to Irish consumers who have experiences of UK based retailers taking similar actions in recent years.

"That experience will regrettably also have given rise to losses for Irish consumers who have, on most occasions, found themselves excluded from the ability to enjoy the use of or the ability to have a refund for vouchers, gift tokens or credit notes or cards issued by such retailers.
"The Consumers’ Association of Ireland is, therefore, advising that consumers use these items with urgency to ensure that history does not repeat itself and so that they are not at any loss."

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