National Debenhams protest stood down for settlement talks

National Debenhams protest stood down for settlement talks
Debenhams protesters demonstrated at a session of Dáil Éireann at the Convention Centre in Co Dublin. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Protesting former Debenham's workers have postponed this Saturday's planned national demonstration. 

Local actions and pickets will take place but the scheduled national protest for August 1 has now been put off to allow settlement talks. 

In a Facebook statement the demonstrating worker's announced the decision. 

"We have decided to postpone the national protest until Saturday 8 August to give time for talks to progress regarding a settlement for Debenhams workers. 

"This is at the request of the leadership of Mandate. Local actions and pickets will take place as usual instead this Saturday."

A similar announcement was made on Twitter.

Debenham's workers have been protesting for more than 100 days in an attempt to secure better redundancy packages. 

The Irish operation of Debenhams was placed into liquidation this spring and former staff claim the packages offered to them were unfair.

They are set to receive statutory redundancy payouts of two weeks of salary per year of service. Workers are demanding four weeks’ pay per service year.

Debenham's workers voted overwhelmingly to strike in response to the redundancy packages offered and have blocked stock from leaving the chain's stores and warehouses.

Liquidator KPMG intends to use proceeds of the liquidation of the Irish business’s assets to pay off key creditors, such as the Revenue Commissioners and other State bodies.

The Taoiseach Micheál Martin and junior Enterprise Minister Robert Troy are meeting the Debenham's workers today. 

Mr Martin has sharply criticised the treatment of the workers by Debenhams in the Dáil  in recent weeks.

Debenhams operated 11 stores in Ireland, four in Dublin, two in Cork and stores in Newbridge, Galway, Limerick, Tralee and Waterford.

In April the Department chain wrote to staff members informing them of their decision to make a liquidation application under the Companies Act 2014.

Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, the Debenhams chain was facing financial difficulties and plans were in train to close a number of UK stores.

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