Debenhams workers “outraged” by actions of liquidator

Thursday 15 October 2020

Mandate Trade Union has said this morning’s attempts by representatives of the Debenhams liquidators, KPMG, to pack or remove stock has outraged the striking workers across the country.

Yesterday KPMG offered a “commitment to notify Mandate at least two hours in advance of the times, and which stores, the Liquidators intend to enter for either the delivery of packing materials or removal of stock.”

This morning men in dark clothing with their faces covered arrived at the store and intimidated a grandmother on the picket line.

Gerry Light, Mandate General Secretary said: “When we were informed of this incident, we immediately wrote to KPMG seeking an explanation. Since then the company has written a response apologising and stating the action was a “logistical error”.

In their response, KPMG stated: “…the Liquidators can confirm that, due to a logistical error, packing materials were delivered to the Henry Street store this morning without prior notice. None of the Liquidators team were present at the time.  This work had been booked two days previously and should have been cancelled in line with the commitment to give notice to Mandate, but went ahead in error. The Liquidators apologise for this and assure Mandate and all of its members that there will be no recurrence.”

Mr Light said: “Our members are furious, and justifiably so. For KPMG to make a commitment to notify the union before any action is taken, and then a crew of men in dark clothing arrive at the store in the middle of the night attempting to intimidate women on an official picket line and remove stock is a disgrace.”

Ex-Debenhams workers have been on strike for 190 days after their company entered liquidation without paying staff their agreed redundancy package.

Mr Light concluded by demanding the government intervene.

“There is only one group that can resolve this dispute amicably, the Irish government. They have the means and the ability to change legislation and allow all workers to avail of their collectively agreed redundancy packages, including the Debenhams workers. A large part of the responsibility for what happened last night and what happens in the future will lie at the door of the government if they do not act now.”