Debenhams Ireland management have today (Thursday, 9th April) informed Mandate Trade Union that the Irish arm of the business is to enter into liquidation with the loss of almost 2,000 jobs in 11 stores across the country.
The company suspended trading due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has confirmed to staff in a letter today “that these stores are not expected to reopen.”
John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary, said this is the first major casualty of the COVID-19 emergency:
“Despite knowledge that the company was in administration and that it wasn’t trading well, this news has come as a massive shock to our members who will be devastated by this announcement. Our sympathy is with each and every worker and their families who will today be wondering how they’re going to pay their rent, mortgage or their bills.”
He added, “We are in close contact with the company and will remain so over the forthcoming process. We will be seeking a meeting with the liquidator when they are appointed and demanding that our members are prioritised throughout the liquidation process so that we can get the best possible deal for them.”
Mr Douglas concluded by saying the retail sector is in a very precarious state and will need government intervention.
“There is no end in sight to this COVID-19 pandemic and we are certain to see more turbulence across the economy, particularly in retail. Thousands of jobs are on the line and any state intervention must be directed towards workers and protecting their living standards.”