I extend my sympathies to the workers in Debenhams who have lost their jobs.
The Taoiseach and I, and other Government Ministers have met on a number of occasions with Debenhams employees and their union, Mandate. While the Government cannot interfere with the High Court-overseen liquidation process, Ministers have sought at all times to ensure that the concerns of workers are heard and that the State’s employment and training services are responding to the needs of workers.
It is disappointing that the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) facilitated talks did not succeed in agreeing a way forward. I would urge both sides to re-engage in a constructive manner with a view to finding a mutually acceptable resolution.
The Government is supportive of the best outcome that is possible for the workers, within the legal framework available. The State will guarantee statutory employment rights to the workers of Debenhams, including statutory redundancy.