Debenhams Dispute TULF statement

Solidarity with the Debenhams workers

The arrest without a court injunction of the Debenhams workers for the occupation of stores brings the crisis in workers rights to a new level. This marks a massive change of direction by the state where workers are now arrested for defending their rights even before an employer goes to court.

This demonstrates which side the government is on. This is the state attacking its own citizens. The trade union movement must challenge this.

Support strikes are banned under the 1990 industrial relations act, it is unlikely any Union will be willing or able to officially call for short term supportive action even for a couple of hours or a solidarity march as it would put the organisation at risk of sequestration of all their unions assets . Under the act two weeks notice would be required, supportive action is banned under the act, so the 1990 IRA has the unions and the workers caught in a double whammy.

To divert attention and to appear to support the workers the Taoiseach has called for a review of company law, the Duffy Cahill report must be brought in, but this would be useless without a review of labour law specifically the 1990 industrial relations act.

The Irish Congress of trade union must step up to the mark and call for this review and for all trade unionists to support these workers.

Mandate Trade Union , Connect Trade Union , Unite Hospitality ROI & the civil service section of Fórsa trade union who all have a policy to abolish the 1990 Industrial Relations Act must now publically call for it to be abolished. These four unions must meet and agree a formal strategy, to build a cross union campaign to have the 1990 IR. act abolished.

Unions must become radical or they will become redundant.

Up the Workers.

Dept of Health in breach of law – Fórsa

The Department of Health, by refusing to make provision for compensatory rest for health managers who have worked 60 to 70 hour weeks over seven days in recent months, has confirmed it is not prepared to comply with the state legislation on working time.

In a letter to members on 21st August, Fórsa’s head of health and welfare Éamonn Donnelly (pictured), said the department does not have the authority to ignore its obligations under the law.

Éamonn’s comments follow the union’s claim for staff at the level of Grade VIII and above, who work in areas such as primary and social care, who “have continuously worked excessive hours without adequate compensatory rest” during the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

He said because no additional staff had been deployed to those areas, the workload was such that these workers were effectively unable to take the required rest periods between shifts of work: “This was not a financial claim, but rather a claim for compensatory rest that adequately reflects the uniquely intense period through which they worked.

“These are staff who do not receive overtime or time in lieu, but the responsibility of making crucial decisions about service delivery and responding to the needs of the community falls to them. This will also be the case as the new Covid/winter plan is unveiled by the HSE.

“This is a service plan designed to see us through to the spring of 2022, and will be implemented by the very staff who have not been able to avail of the minimum legal requirement of compensatory rest. This is neither sensible nor is it sustainable,” he said.

The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 makes provisions for compensatory rest for workers. Éamonn said the legislation provides for the protection of the health and wellbeing of the worker, but also has a crucial role to play in terms of public safety.


Éamonn expressed that Fórsa is extremely proud of the dedication shown by its members. “As citizens, we remain thankful for your relentless commitment to the pandemic response,” he said.

He added that many fail to grasp that while the pandemic response demands leveled out over time, many were then “charged with the task of re-booting a health service which had been all but suspended.”

The reference period for adequate compensatory rest is not greater than four months, which has now passed. Éamonn added, “There is, however, a provision for a reference period of not greater than six months where there is a foreseeable surge in activity. This, in effect, means that there is a six month period within which adequate compensatory rest should be provided for, where the general provisions on working time cannot be adhered to in ‘real-time’ i.e.

  • Maximum weekly working hours of 48 hours per week;
  • Daily rest periods of 11 consecutive hours in each period of 24 hours;
  • A rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours in each period of 7 days immediately preceded by a daily rest period of 11 hours.”

In earlier correspondence to the WRC Éamonn advised that, in the absence of an agreement, Fórsa would have no option other than to advise its members to observe the provisions of the Act and comply accordingly in future. “Given the challenges anticipated in the health sector over the next few months, there is no doubt that this would have a significant adverse effect on the planning and delivery of services,” he said.

It’s never been more important – or more easy – to get the protections and benefits of union membership. Join Fórsa HERE or contact the union HERE.

R.I.P. Thiago Cortes

Trade Union Left Forum offer our sincere condolences to the family, fiancee, friends of the deceased, the Brazilian community and workmates of Thiago Cortes a young Deliveroo worker who has died following a hit and run incident on Monday night.  Tereza Dontas, Mr Cortes’s fiancée, kept a bed-side vigil as Thiago fought for his life before he finally succumbed to fatal injuries.

The Brazilian community, Deliveroo workers and many ordinary citizens gathered at the Spire this evening to remember Thiago and express their anger at this outrage. A passing demonstration by striking Debenhams workers stopped and held a minutes silence in Thiago’s memory

28-year-old Thiago Cortes, as a Deliveroo worker, is a symptom of the exploitation of all workers in the gig economy, many of whom are subjected to bogus self-employment.

These workers have been unsuccessfully looking for a meeting with Deliveroo for months over lack of safety.

Cycling around Dublin at any hour is incredibly dangerous. Workers not only face the traffic but also the ills of a city devastated by poverty, addiction, mental health issues and inequality.  Many workers have been previously injured in traffic accidents, while others have been robbed, beaten and attacked.

The killing of Thiago is the final straw.

The gig economy and bogus self employment must be banned. Employers must recognise workers trade unions and agree contracts of employment for these workers.

Unregulated work of this kind must be outlawed, just as slavery was in the past.

Workers Rights are Human Rights.

Rest In Power, brother Cortes.

Debenhams Workers

There was strong support for the Debenhams workers last night outside the Convention Centre. Clearly the government is feeling vulnerable after their golfing debacle: the Gardaí felt it necessary to erect two barricades to stop us getting too close …

The Debenhams workers have been blockading stores for almost 150 days to stop KPMG’s hired goons making off with the stock. Every trade unionist worth their salt should be down on the picket lines as monitoring the depots 24/7 is no easy task.

Their struggle is our struggle. ✊✊✊

An injury to one is an injury to all !

Duffy Cahill Report

In light of the ongoing struggle by the workers in Debenhams, We publish the Duffy Cahill report from 2016 in full. Click on this link

Expert Examination and Review of Laws on the Protection of Employee Interests when assets are separated from the operating entity (Duffy Cahill Report)

An expert examination of legal protections for workers with a particular focus on ways of ensuring limited liability and corporate restructuring are not used to avoid a company’s obligations to its employees. The examination was to look specifically at situations where assets of significant value are separated from the operating entity, being the employer, and how the position of employees can be better protected in such situations.

Published by Workplace Regulation and Economic Migration

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Shopfloor Now out

The well written Trade Union paper Shopfloor is not out. You can read it on this link.


Estee Lauder workers in Dublin Airport to ballot for industrial action

Estee Lauder workers in Dublin Airport to ballot for industrial action

Friday 28 August 2020

Mandate members employed by Estee Lauder in Dublin Airport are to participate in a ballot for industrial action in an effort to prevent the implementation of 22 compulsory redundancies.

The company employs 50 workers in the business and has refused to attend the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Mandate say they wish to negotiate around the principle of voluntary rather than compulsory redundancy, the terms of the redundancy package, the selection criteria as well as the terms & conditions of those employees who remain in the business.

Estee Lauder are insisting on implementing compulsory redundancies on statutory terms.

Mandate Divisional Organiser Robert McNamara said: “This is one of the largest cosmetic firms on the planet and they are attempting to force compulsory redundancies on their workers while making them reapply for their jobs.”

He added, “The company are also attempting to cut premium rates for workers who remain. This type of behaviour during a pandemic is reprehensible. We have put forward alternative proposals to the company with a voluntary scheme and a fair redundancy package but unfortunately the company are determined to aggressively make savings at the expense of their workers.”

Mr McNamara concluded: “We will be balloting our members for industrial action but we sincerely hope the company decides to come to the table and resolve this dispute amicably before it escalates.”


Debenhams Dispute: Over 140 days and getting stronger

See this link for a fascinating interview with Jane Crowe a Trade Union Shop Steward from Mandate the Trade Union and Brian Forbes a Mandate official regarding the present dispute which has been going on at Debenhams since Easter 2020.

For anyone that want to assist their fellow workers. There is a daily picket on at Parnell Street,Dublin. Why not go along and help out.

International Solidarity: Miners Deaths in Pakistan

The World Federation of Trade Unions on behalf of its 105 million workers in 130 countries of the 5 continents expresses its sincere condolence to the relatives and colleagues of the three miners from Shangla district who lost their lives when an explosion occurred due to gas accumulation in a coalmine in Boya area of Orakzai district.

Once again the working class of Pakistan mourns its children due to a constant crime of the bourgeoisie that sacrifices workers for the sake of profit. The 3 miners are added in an endless list of workers that have been killed just because the there trying to earn their livelihood. Despite the statements, declarations, and conventions from the governments and international organizations, in 2019 at least 120 miners were killed died in occupational “accidents” in mines of Pakistan, and tens of workers were killed in 2020.

The World Federation of Trade Unions demands an independent investigation of the crime conditions and exemplary punishment of the responsible ones. The safety protocol and the protection conventions should not be at empty words with no real meaning but should be implemented immediately. We assure the miners all over the world that we will continue our struggles and initiatives, using all our means, for ensuring the health and safety in the mines all over the world.

SIPTU refers dispute at BorgWarner in Tralee to Workplace Relations Commission

Date Released: 24 August 2020

SIPTU representatives have referred a dispute concerning redundancy payments a car parts manufacturer BorgWarner in Tralee, county Kerry, to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

SIPTU Organiser, Joe Kelly, said: “Discussions with management at BorgWarner have reached an impasse day with the company unwilling to agree a fair redundancy package for the 117 SIPTU members who face losing their jobs due to the closure of the plant.

“Our members, their families and communities will suffer the consequences of these job losses long after the shutters have come down on this plant. Its closure was announced to our members on 28th July. Management presented redundancy terms at that time without consultation with the workers’ representatives.

“SIPTU representatives tabled what we believe to be a fair and reasonable request in relation to redundancy payments to the company on 6th August at the first meeting of a consultation process. Unfortunately, the company has steadfastly refused to accede to this request or discuss the possibility of reaching a fair solution.”

He added: “We received official confirmation from BorgWarner on Friday 21st August stating it would not be agreeing to our members’ redundancy request. A greatly inferior redundancy package was offered. Management has stated that if our members do not accept this offer it will revert to its original offer made on 28th July. This has left SIPTU representatives with no alternative other than to seek assistance from the WRC.”

SIPTU Shop Steward, Gerrard Treanor, said: “Our members, many of whom have provided more than 25 years’ service to the company, are deeply disappointed with the management’s approach and its failure to even consider a previous Labour Court recommendation in relation to redundancy packages at the company.”