Debenhams workers in Cork stage blockade to stop stock removal 

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Former staff of Debenhams on Patrick’s Street are blockading the service yard of the premises this afternoon as it’s understood that there has been an attempt to remove concession stock from the store.

This is the second blockade of the service yard since the store closed earlier this year.

In May staff attempted to stop a van from leaving with cash from the store, but eventually stood down their protest after Gardaí spoke to them.

Mandate shop steward at the Patrick’s Street Store, Valerie Conlon told The Echo they were blocking a truck and a van from leaving the yard, and have also blocked a third from entering.

“Two trucks drove in this morning.

“The trucks are full now, and they want to pass the picket. They asked me if I was going to allow them to pass and I said no,” Ms Conlon said.

Gardaí attended the picket earlier in the day, and staff are expecting them to return later in the evening.

Staff have been picketing for months looking for a fair redundancy package after they were let go via email in early April.

Lord Mayor Councillor Joe Kavanagh attended today’s picket in support of the workers.

“I am very disappointed with any company who treats their workers like that, and in particular people who have given all their working lives to this company.

“The workers feel left down and I feel let down for them.

“I think this is a lesson to be learned for Cork city. On a national basis we need to be looking at some way of preventing this happening in the future – companies coming into Ireland, making money and just leaving people high and dry.” 

Solidarity TD Mick Barry, who has remained at the picket with the workers throughout the day, said: “I support the position of the workers that no stock should leave Debenhams until such time as a just redundancy settlement has been reached. I will be raising this issue in the Dáil this week and demanding that the new Government intervene to ensure that some degree of justice and fairness prevails here.”

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