The Government has been called on to immediately ban Debenhams liquidator KPMG from removing stock from the 11 shuttered stores during level 5 lockdown.
The company refused to comment on whether it would attempt to remove stock despite current public health restrictions.
This, protesters say, has “forced” them to maintain strict pickets, increasing their risk of exposure to Covid-19.
“We’re out during level 5 lockdown now because KPMG thinks that packing stock is essential work when it isn't," Valerie Conlon, Mandate trade union shop steward, who worked in the Patrick Street store, in Cork said.
Ex-Debenhams workers vote to reject Kevin Foley dispute resolution proposals by a margin of 91 percent - Mandate Trade Union Ireland https://t.co/mycozyujY1— Mandate Trade Union (@MandateTU) January 13, 2021
"We feel that KPMG is going against all the principles of what the Government is trying to do, trying to lock down Covid-19 so it won’t spread.
“The Tánaiste said he can’t tell KPMG not to do it. They’re asking the whole country to lock down but they’re not asking KPMG to do this. Why is KPMG different to everybody else?’"
Ms Conlon said the protesters were "very concerned" about maintaining the picket due to the virus.
“We are being very careful but the danger is out there no matter how careful you are," she said.
Solidarity TD Mick Barry, who has been campaigning on the issue, called on the Government to immediately ban KPMG from removing stock during current public health restrictions.
Tanaiste continues to show ex #Debenhams workers a tin ear. Statement that workers have received €13m statutory redundancy need to be seen in light of the fact that the State aim to recoup this money from the Debenhams liquidation pot. @suzannesherry4 @ingridmileyRTE https://t.co/l8MpoyTJF3— Mick Barry TD (@MickBarryTD) January 13, 2021
“This is clearly not essential work. KPMG should not be keeping open the possibility of removing the Debenhams stock in a level 5 lockdown,” he said.
This week, former Debenhams workers voted down by a 91% majority an "insulting" Government deal which offered them €3m for a training fund.
But the former workers say they are already entitled to training courses and some are nearing retirement.
They have called for that €3m to be used instead to top up redundancy payments for the workers, who were made redundant when Debenhams Ireland went into liquidation in April.