These three Debenhams stalwarts are determined to fight

They devoted their working lives to Debenhams but feel like they've been thrown to the wolves.
These three Debenhams stalwarts are determined to fight
Former staff of Debenhams' Patrick Street location, engaged in socially-distanced protest outside the former retail outlet. Pics: Dan Linehan

Personal shopper Vivian O'Regan
Personal shopper Vivian O'Regan

"I don’t care how long you’ve worked with a company - two years or 22 years - to just get a generic automated email and to still have no communication, it’s just not right.

"We still haven’t got our notice and this is all unknown territory for us all.

"If you told me a month ago that we’d be in this position, I wouldn’t have believed you. I always looked at protests and thought that would never be me. I never had to email a TD or our union. I still think it’’s a bad dream."

Sales assistant, Madeline Whelan, was just weeks away from her 30-year service milestone.

"We did 12-13hr shifts which meant it didn’t cost the company to do the right thing over the years. They used to call us the A-Team," she said.

Sales assistant Madeline Whelan
Sales assistant Madeline Whelan

"And two days before the announcement, we were told our jobs were not in danger. But when we got the news, it was shock first, then disappointment and now I’m in fighting mode. We are determined we won’t go down without a fight."

Valerie Conlon, who would have been with Debenhams 24 years in May, said she and her colleagues are prepared to fight.

"When we got the email that all 11 stores were closing, my heart stopped, I couldn’t believe what I was reading," she said.

"We were then left for the entire Easter weekend to digest the news, and we heard nothing.

Former Debenhams employee Valerie Conlon
Former Debenhams employee Valerie Conlon

"Mandate has done what it can but we’re facing statutory redundancy. That’s our thanks. We served Debenhams well. We were good employees.

"It’s a small issue when you hear news of over 70 deaths because of Covid-19 and our thoughts are with those families.

"But we want to show our employer that we are not going to lie down, that we are going to fight."

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