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Greens Call for Extra Discussion Time in Debenhams Redundancy Talks

Date: April 17 2020

Green Party Spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Steven Matthews TD raised the plight of Debenhams staff with the Minister for Finance in the Dáil this week. Up to 2000 workers have been impacted after the retailer permanently closed their Irish operations.

Speaking in the Dáil, Deputy Matthews raised concerns with the Minister for Finance about the impact that COVID-19 could have on redundancy negotiations and looked for the existing timeframes for talks between the retailer and trade unions to be extended. The extension was requested to give workers the best possible opportunity to achieve a redundancy agreement beyond the statutory minimum payment.

“This is a devastating blow for the staff of Debenhams and their families who are already struggling due to being unable to work during the COVID-19 crisis. I sincerely hope a fair redundancy package can be negotiated as many of the staff have been with the company for a significant amount of time. The closure of 11 stores and 26 concessions further erodes the high street retail offering in many areas as Debenhams occupy significant positions on main streets and shopping centres in several Irish cities and their absence will be felt once other shops and businesses begin opening again”.

Green Party Spokesperson for Justice and Equality, Roderic O’Gorman TD, whose Dublin West constituency has been particularly impacted by the closure of the Blanchardstown store added, “Staff are very disappointed to hear that the Irish aspect will close while the online shop will stay open. In respect of redundancy, I understand staff with very long standing loyalty and service in the company will only receive statutory redundancy. Unemployment for many of the staff with long service, will come at a time of great uncertainty for them as some are approaching pensionable age, and now find themselves job seeking at this very difficult time to find employment.”

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