High street store Debenhams has announced that it is going into liquidation without even a pretence of a care for its workforce. After making 4000 redundancies in May, another 2500 were announced last Tuesday, with 70 in the Manchester store alone. Workers and supporters from the local left and trade union movement held a protest outside on Saturday 15th August to demand that Debenhams pay workers what they should be owed. Jess Simpson was made redundant from the Manchester Debenhams outlet in May, and told me:
We’re here today because we’ve all had enough. The way Debenhams is treating their staff is despicable, making people redundant at three days’ notice by a conference call. Some of these workers have worked for Debenhams for 30-odd years. None of us are getting even statutory redundancy pay, instead they’re palming us off on the government through liquidation and getting tax-payers to pick up the bill, and this is disgusting.
It’s in the news today about the liquidation plans for the company, and they‘re doing everything they can not to pay us properly. It’s not just in the UK, in Ireland they’ve been doing this since the start of the year. What we want is for Debenhams to pay us properly and stop treating us like we’re disposable. If you want to support us you can help us by calling the company out and we’ll be doing more protests like this one.
A further protest has been called for Manchester on Saturday 22nd August, 3pm, outside the Debenhams store in Piccadilly Gardens / Market Street. Socialist Alternative supporters in the area will be helping build support for this protest and raising the demand that Debenhams open their books to the workforce and the community so we can see where the money has gone, and that they should be brought into public ownership to save jobs.