Debenhams has confirmed that its Derry store will be impacted by plans to cut a substantial number of jobs.
The chain, which was already struggling before the pandemic forced the closure of stores in March, said it was taking the action as part of efforts to ensure the business has 'every chance of a viable future'
The 2,500 job losses are spread across the store network & distribution centre but we haven’t broken down numbers on a store-by-store basis.
“We have successfully reopened 124 stores, post-lockdown, and these are currently trading ahead of management expectations. At the same time, the trading environment is clearly a long way from returning to normal and we have to ensure our store costs are aligned with realistic expectations.
Those colleagues affected by redundancy have been informed and we are very grateful to them for their service and commitment to Debenhams. Such difficult decisions are being taken by many retailers right now, and we will continue to take all necessary steps to give Debenhams every chance of a viable future.”
In April of this year Debenhams announced that administrators had been appointed to 'protect the business'.
It aimed to open as many stores as possible once Coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
However, the company said that it would liquidate all 11 stores in the Republic of Ireland and they were not expected to reopen.
More than 1,000 Debenhams workers in Ireland were notified that they’d lost their jobs.
The Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the company has treated its Irish workers in a 'very shabby way' in depriving them of redundancy entitlements and he believes the law must be re-examined.
The Foyleside store reopened once permitted to do so by the government but no update could be provided on its long-term future.
Last month Debenhams workers from as far afield as Cork protested outside the Debenhams store on Foyle Street in Derry to make consumers aware of what they described as their employer’s 'despicable' actions.
Mandate Trade Union has said the company didn’t set aside finances to pay the workers their agreed redundancy package, having transferred valuable assets to the UK parent company.
Valerie Conlon who worked in the Debenhams store on Patrick Street in Cork for 24 years said: “We are not going to let this company just walk away and not pay. We’ve given decades of service and helped make huge profits for Debenhams so for them to just abandon their responsibilities is a disgrace.”
She added: “We will be making everyone aware of how Debenhams treats its workers, and if that means traveling six hours to Derry, so be it. If they can do this to us and get away with it, how do we know it won’t be the workers in Derry next?”
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