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Sinn Féin publish bill to ensure fair treatment of Debenhams workers - Louise O'Reilly TD

8 July, 2020 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin has today published the Protection of Employees (Collective Redundancies) Bill 2020; to protect workers and stop tactical redundancies, in light of the unfair treatment of Debenhams workers.

Speaking as she launched the Bill today, Teachta O'Reilly said:

“The treatment of Debenhams workers has been frankly appalling. The company is walking away from its responsibility to staff and away from any form of constructive engagement with unions.

“The workers believe that the intention of Debenhams is to asset those stores and funnel the profits back into its British operation leaving their workers here high and dry. They have balloted for industrial action and places pickets on the stores to prevent stock being moved out.

“These workers have been campaigning for a fair and just settlement for more than two months now. They have been abandoned by Debenhams and are left with only basic state supports instead of the negotiated agreed redundancy rate. That is wholly unfair and unacceptable.

“We have been here time and time again – Clerys, La Senza, Paris Bakery, and now Debenhams.

“The reality is, companies can only engage in this behaviour because successive governments have let them do so through their failure to legislate to protect workers.

“Workers’ and Trade Unions have been seeking legislative protections for many years, but every time they seek legislative protection, they have been told by successive governments that they must wait. 

“Wait for a report – wait for another investigation – wait for the Minister to read the report – wait for implementation.

“The time for workers’ waiting is over.

“Today I am publishing the Protection of Employees (Collective Redundancies) Bill 2020. This will provide protections for employees in collective redundancy situations in which the employer is insolvent.

“This will provide additional protections for workers by closing legal loopholes which allow companies to enact tactical redundancies.

“I am urging all parties to do the right thing and support this Bill, so that Debenhams workers can receive the fair treatment they deserve.”

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