Debenhams strike inspires new Bill to improve workers rights in a liquidation situationPadraig Conlon 20 Apr 2021
At a press launch at Leinster House this morning Solidarity/People Before Profit launched the Companies (Protection of Employees Rights in Liquidations) Bill 2021 which will be moved at first stage in the Dáil tomorrow.
Speaking at the launch, Mick Barry T.D. said the Bill has been inspired by the struggle of the Debenhams workers who have been fighting for over a year for a just settlement of their dispute
“I will be moving this Bill at first stage in the Dáil tomorrow,” Deputy Barry said.
“The Bill will put workers right to the front of the queue for payouts from a liquidation pot.
“It will also make an unpaid collective redundancy agreement into a debt in the eyes of the law when it comes to liquidation.
“This Bill has been inspired by the struggle of the Debenhams workers.”
Karen Gearon, shop steward in the Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid strike 1984-7 said:
“Workers’ campaigns can result in changes to the law.
“Apartheid South African produce was removed from Irish supermarket shelves by law as a result of our 3-year strike in the 1980s.
“Now, after the year long struggle of the Debenhams workers the law must change on this issue.”
Jane Crowe, Mandate shop steward at Debenhams Henry St Dublin said:
“The Debenhams workers are supporting this Bill so that what happened to us can never happen to workers again.
“Workers need to be prioritised.
“Workers’ collective agreements that are in place should be honoured.”
South Dublin TD Richard Boyd Barrett said:
“More than a year after the Debenhams dispute began and many years after the Clerys dispute the Government has still done absolutely nothing to change the law and protect the redundancy rights of workers in cases of liquidation.
“It’s in the interests of every worker to support this Bill and force the Government to ensure that the despicable treatment of Debenhams workers will not be visited on other workers in future.”
Ruth Coppinger, former Solidarity TD, said: “Women workers are three times more likely to lose their job in this pandemic.
“We’ve seen a trail of tactical liquidations during Covid.
“A retail jobs massacre is underway.
“The whole trade union movement should commit to campaign for this Bill. The Government must commit to legislate to protect workers.”