Jan 14, 2021
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Ireland's ex-Debenhams workers reject €3 million non-cash funding offer

Jan 14, 2021

Former Debenhams workers in the Republic of Ireland have overwhelmingly rejected a government-backed €3m training, upskilling and business start-up fund because it fails to allow for cash access.


Some 430 workers cast their votes with the proposals rejected by 393,  a margin of 91%.

Elected shop stewards from Debenhams will now meet to determine the next steps in their campaign for a fair redundancy package and changes to legislation to ensure workers are not treated like this in the future, reported Cork News.

Valerie Conlon, a Mandate trade union shop steward, told the newspaper: “We are pleased with the outcome of today’s vote and the fact the result was so emphatic.

“The offer really degraded us more so than anything else. It was another kick in the teeth. It was implying that we had no skills. The talks were going in a completely different direction and they did a complete U-turn."

Conlon revealed that the ex-Debenhams workers will continue with their picket that has already lasted 279 days. She  also said they will continue to negotiate with all stakeholders to find a resolution.

“Our representatives from Mandate will now write to the [government] outlining that we would be willing to vote yes if they would turn the €3m into cash. We are doing the right thing by negotiating but obviously, the government doesn’t want to negotiate with us”, she added.

RTE.com, however, reported deputy prime minister and minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar had said all avenues for resolving the Debenhams dispute have been explored and exhausted and that the government will now await the outcome of proceedings in the High Court.

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