Mandate Trade Union calls on all TDs to support the Joan Collins Debenhams motion

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Mandate Trade Union is calling on all TDs to support Joan Collins’ Private Members Motion to be debated in the Dail at 3pm today (Wednesday, 16th September) which calls on the government to “introduce emergency legislation to implement the Duffy-Cahill Report recommendations as a matter of urgency.”

The motion demands a change of legislation which could immediately resolve the protracted Debenhams dispute where workers have been on strike for more than 150 days.

In effect, the workers would receive their collectively agreed redundancy package of four weeks pay per year of service as opposed to the minimum statutory redundancy.

The motion also calls for “a ring-fenced insolvency fund, such as exists in several European Union states, to allow for all payments due to workers laid off by an insolvent company, which could be financed by a levy on Employers Pay Related Social Insurance.”

Jonathan Hogan, Mandate National Coordinator said:

“The time for talking and reviews is now over. What we need is action. This motion today will illustrate to the Debenhams workers which side TDs and political parties are on.”

He explained: “These workers don’t want to be on picket lines. They want this resolved and there is only one group of people who can do that overnight and that’s the government. If they introduce emergency legislation based on the Duffy/Cahill recommendations the pickets could end immediately and the workers would get their entitlements.”

The Duffy/Cahill review has six recommendations, one of which is for workers to avail of enhanced redundancy packages above the statutory minimum based on negotiated agreements between the employer and their workers’ trade union.

Mandate is also calling for the establishment of an insolvency levy on employers to help fund redundancies in a manner used by other EU countries such as Germany, Austria and France.

“When this fund is established the government should make an advance payment from the fund to the Debenhams workers which reflects their collectively agreed redundancy,” said Mr Hogan.

He added, “What we’ve seen throughout this pandemic is that where there’s a will there’s a way. The government insisted they couldn’t implement rent freezes or ban evictions because they would be unconstitutional. Then they went and implemented that exact legislation at the start of the COVID19 crisis. This proposal from Joan Collins and the Independent group is less complex and is entirely possible if the government were to prioritise workers for once.”

Mr Hogan concluded by saying any failure to implement the Duffy/Cahill review will lead to further incidents like Debenhams.

“All workers should support this motion and should contact their local TDs because while it’s the Debenhams workers fighting this battle today, it could be you tomorrow. We all need to rally behind the Debenhams workers and their demands before we see another Debenhams, Clerys, Paris Bakery or La Senza.”