News & Media

Government face a choice as to whether they want to act – warm words will not deliver for the Debenhams workers

12 September 2020

Statement by Senator Marie Sherlock
Seanad Whip and Spokesperson on Employment Affairs, Media, Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht
Marie Sherlock

The Government now face a choice as to whether they want to act on detailed proposals submitted by ICTU in order to resolve the Debenhams dispute according to Labour Spokesperson on Employment, Senator Marie Sherlock.

“Over the past fortnight ICTU put a clear proposal to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Damien English that could satisfactorily resolve the dispute. The proposal involves the establishment of a levy on private sector employers to ensure that the enhanced terms of a redundancy payment can be met. The need arises when workers cannot access the full terms of their collective agreement that are built into their contracts when a company goes into liquidation.  The levy to fund the MIBI in Ireland is a similar such model and the ICTU proposal follows what is available in a number of other countries across Europe.

 

“There are clear commitments in the Programme for Government to reviewing the situation arising for workers from a liquidation. The Government now faces a choice whether to honour these commitments to ensure that Debenhams and other workers in similar situations will be properly treated.

 

“Ultimately this situation is a test for the Government’s true attitude towards supporting unionised and decent employment in Ireland". 

 

“This Government and the previous Fine Gael led minority Government have let the Duffy Cahill report gather dust despite all the warm words towards the Debenhams workers. If the Government are serious about protecting workers in difficult circumstances such as what the Debenhams workers have found themselves in, then they must choose to act.