Former Debenhams workers disappointed at €3m training package

ireland
Around 1,200 staff lost their jobs last year after the closure of the company’s stores in the Republic
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Former Debenhams workers are shocked and disappointed at a €3 million package for training and upskilling offered by the Government.

The chair of the Labour Court, Kevin Foley, announced the proposal following lengthy engagement with workers, the liquidators KPMG, and various Government agencies.

Around 1,200 staff lost their jobs last year after the closure of the company’s stores in the Republic and yesterday marked the 250th day of their long-running dispute over enhanced redundancy payments.

Former shop steward at the Patrick Street store in Cork, Valerie Conlon, said she was “devastated” and the offer was not acceptable as it stands.

Ireland
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She said: “I'm very emotional over this, because I've asked people to come out and picket over the last 250 days and this is what we have ended up with, this is what the Government thinks we are worth. I'm very angry.”

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In a letter, Mr Foley concluded that the 2016 collective agreement for enhanced redundancy payments no longer had legal application, and that the current framework limits the scope for the liquidators to contribute to a resolution of the dispute.

He said the main preferential creditors of the Debenhams Ireland liquidation are the Department of Social Protection and Revenue Commissioners, with debt amounting to approximately €18 million.

The State has already paid out €13 million in statutory entitlements to former staff.

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