Workers Solidarity Needed To Assist Ex-Debenhams Workers
Updated: Apr 25
The Industrial Workers of the World have hit-out at the use of Garda involvement at a number of Debenhams Stores located across the country in which Garda overpowered picket lines to assist the forced-removal of stock.
A spokesperson of the IWW Ireland branch said: “The actions of Garda and the introduction of security amidst a Level 5 pandemic lockdown which resulted in a number of arrests has to be condemned. These actions clearly shows the rules of ‘big business’ outweigh that of the ordinary worker in the eyes of those in Dáil Éireann, but this has always been the case.”
Over the last twelve months former Debenhams workers at sites across the country, took a stand against the unfair redundancy package issued by Debenhams bosses. Since the workers action began, Debenhams bosses have scrapped and rejected any adherence to worker’s rights which in turn was assisted by the government.
As part of an agreement back in April, Debenhams Ireland departed appointing liquidators KPMG to scavenge what they could from the liquidation process. To date, workers pickets placed on former Debenhams stores have hampered KPMG efforts, as they continue to demand to be paid in full all wages owed to them before any stock left in premises is removed.
A spokesperson for the IWW said: “Actions carried out over the past number of evenings by scab labour on behalf of KPMG have been assisted by the Garda and the government. This is a nod by the state that they are in full support of 'big business' by attempting to remove stocks. However for ourselves as a revolutionary union, it is our belief that this is a clear sign of desperation and that the actions of genuine workers solidarity on picket lines over the past year has worked.
“It’s true that worker solidarity has had an impact upon the lives of those directly involved here, as well as their immediate families however they are winning. Their strength and commitment to date has shown that they are winning. In turn, this fight is being followed by thousands of workers who are seeking strength in their own workplaces, to stand up against their own bosses. They demand what is rightfully theirs.
“The silence of the Irish trade union movement at this time speaks volumes and have to be questioned as we witness scabs and Gardí break picket lines during the height of a Covid 19 pandemic. Where is this toothless tiger?
"While the the left dance around Dáil Éireann to further bathe in the glory of newspaper side columns, it is our belief that there is no parliamentary substitution whatsoever for genuine working class solidarity. No substitution for street actions and the strength of workplace and picket line solidarity between workers as that is where our strength lies.
“The actions of Debenhams workers to date proves that their struggle is right. The desperate actions of KPMG and their hired bully-boys in An Garda Síochána is a sign of desperation of the bosses, the government and the bosses to get their money no matter how it is done. At this time, Debenhams workers deserve and demand the solidarity of all of our class to get back what is rightfully owed to them.”
Photos: Damien Storan