Former Arcadia staff hold protest in Cork city centre to highlight lack of retail support

Former Arcadia staff hold protest in Cork city centre to highlight lack of retail support

Christine Hourihan and former Arcadia workers protesting outside Evans shop on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Former Arcadia workers from Evans and Dorothy Perkins held a socially distanced protest on Tuesday morning outside their store to highlight the increasingly precarious conditions retail workers are under.

Catriona O’Connor, who has worked at Dorothy Perkins for the past 15 years said the Arcadia workers wanted to highlight the situation retail staff were repeatedly finding themselves in, let down by their employer and by the Government.

 Former Arcadia workers protesting outside Evans shop on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Former Arcadia workers protesting outside Evans shop on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

“We were told we were officially unemployed from January 29. The company went into liquidation in November. It was a grim Christmas, not knowing what would happen.” Catriona said that they were told it was unlikely that their redundancy package would be honoured and they have been dealing with the liquidator Deloitte since November.

Ms O’Connor is one of a number of loyal Arcadia staff members who have been with the company many years, in some cases, 30 years.

“After all those years to not even be guaranteed a reference, it’s very disappointing. We are in no man’s land at the moment, we have been abandoned from all angles. We are not getting the support we need from the Government or the liquidators.” 

Catriona said when Clerys went under in 2015, the Government said it would never happen again, but it has.

 Caitriona O'Connor and former Arcadia workers protesting outside Evans shop on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Caitriona O'Connor and former Arcadia workers protesting outside Evans shop on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

“It happened in March 2020 to Debenhams and it happened in November to us and there is nothing to say it won’t happen again.” 

Catriona said in an ideal world they would get their full redundancy package honoured, but failing that, they wanted to highlight the circumstances retail workers were finding themselves in.

“The staff is always the bottom of the creditor’s list, that should change. There are ways of doing things and it is an easy way out to say there is no money left.” Catriona said with the rise of online shopping and the rolling lockdowns, it will happen again and workers should be aware and speak up.

 Caitriona O'Connor and former Arcadia workers protesting outside Evans shop on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan
Caitriona O'Connor and former Arcadia workers protesting outside Evans shop on Patrick Street, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

“We are not expecting a miracle, but we have a lot of friends in retail and it could happen to any of us and you come out of it with nothing.” 

A number of Debenhams workers joined the Arcadia workers in solidarity.

Speaking to The Echo, Catriona said that the staff would like to hold another protest once restrictions lifted and some shops reopened.

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