AROUND 40 former Debenhams workers picketed the Limerick store this afternoon to mark 150 days since its closure in March.
While KPMG – the liquidator of the company – says significant progress has been made in discussions with unions over redundancy payments for workers, no settlement has yet been agreed.
It is understood that under the proposed deal, pickets would be removed from the 11 stores across the country and staff would allow stock in the stores to be traded from two specific Debenhams stores.
Workers have been maintaining a presence outside the Limerick store around the clock since March to prevent stock from being removed to ensure a deal can be reached.
This afternoon's picket took place at Debenhams stores across the country – including at O’Connell Street in Limerick city centre.
“All we want is what we are entitled to, that’s all that we are here for. We did a collective agreement for our redundancy payments and that is what we have been fighting for but to come up with €1m for 970 staff is just ridiculous – people will leave with nothing and that’s an insult to us,” said Aishling O’Gorman from Ballysheedy who worked in the homeware department for ten years.
Former supervisor Keith Clancy, who worked with Debenhams for more than 11 years, says he’s angry and frustrated that it has taken so long for a deal to be reached.
“I’m annoyed because people are saying that deals have been agreed but they haven’t – basically the deal that we have received is a slap to all workers that were working there – especially those who were there for 25 or 30 years,” he said.
Colette O’Donnell from Thomondgate, who worked with Debenhams for more than 20 years, says she just wants to get on with her life.
“We are out in the wind and the rain at those back gates – there are people there overnight and anything could happen to them. They (the company) don’t care and they should just do the decent thing and give us what we are looking for – it’s not anything that we are not entitled to because it was in an agreement that they made. Do the decent thing and let us get on with our lives and get other jobs,” she said.