Debenhams sit-in allowed continue in Cork while Dublin's demonstration is shut down 

Debenhams sit-in allowed continue in Cork while Dublin's demonstration is shut down 

Debenhams store in Cork where striking workers took occupancy. Picture:  Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Debenhams workers in Cork have initially been told by gardaí they can continue their sit-in at the Patrick St store in Cork, despite their counterparts in Dublin being arrested.

Workers in Cork applauded gardaí as they left the scene of the sit-in, which saw them discuss the move with the workers inside the building, and leave without incident.

The workers say the sit-in is being undertaken for “a just settlement of four weeks redundancy pay per year of service”.

The workers claimed the settlement offer they received late last week was an "insult", expressing "extreme disappointment" at the failure of Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Enterprise Minister Leo Varadkar to interject.

The workers have been offered just one day on top of the statutory minimum of two weeks per year of service.

Some eight workers from Cork and Tralee remain in the canteen of the former Debenhams store in Cork, while workers at Henry St in Dublin were arrested and have since been released.

KPMG said in a statement that it was withdrawing its offer in response to the sit-ins.

Mandate Trade Union said it is disappointed the liquidators of Debenhams Ireland have withdrawn their redundancy settlement offer and has called on all parties to immediately engage to find a satisfactory resolution to the dispute.

In response to the occupation by Debenhams workers in three stores (Cork, Dublin and Tralee), Mandate Trade Union said “152 days of frustration has manifested itself in direct action” and that frustration is completely understandable.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said:

“These workers have spent the last 152 days on strike outside their place of employment because their employer, Debenhams Ireland, completely discarded them. The law allowed that company to tear up the worker’s redundancy agreement and transfer valuable assets over to the UK parent company leaving their workers with nothing.” 

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