Tuesday 20 March 2018

Border run blamed as retailer to cut 250 jobs

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

UP to 250 people will lose their jobs at Debenhams as the company cuts staff across its 11 stores here.

The British retail chain has told staff that two of its Dublin stores, including the former Roches Stores department store on Henry Street, will be worst affected by the cuts.

A total of 170 full-time positions will be axed, but workers' union Mandate has revealed that dozens more staff who cover the positions on a part-time basis will also be affected.

After a meeting with the company, the union said the biggest number of jobs lost would be at Henry Street, Dublin -- where 69 full-time positions are to go -- with 37 job cuts in Tallaght.

A total of 28 positions will be shed in Patrick Street, Cork; 11 in Blackrock and nine in Blanchardstown, in Dublin; 10 in Tralee, Co Kerry; 25 in Limerick; 20 in Waterford; and 15 in Galway.

The remaining redundancies are being sought at Mahon Point in Cork and Newbridge, Co Kildare, while 10 positions are being axed in warehouses in Ballymount, Dublin, and in Cork.

The redundancies will affect workers on the sales floor, in food services, and in finance and operations.

Debenhams announced it would shed the jobs last month as some of its branches were no longer profitable.

Mandate is trying to ensure the redundancies will be on a voluntary basis. Assistant general secretary Linda Tanham said details of the severance package on offer would be discussed at a meeting tomorrow.

"More and more jobs are being lost in the retail sector as a direct result of the downturn in the economy and, in particular, customers going across the Border to do their shopping," she said.

"We have no doubt this has been a major contributor to the loss of jobs in the Debenhams situation and it is frustrating to see Irish workers losing jobs at a time when they are already struggling to make ends meet.


"Low-paid workers in the retail sector are having difficulties paying their bills and their mortgages, so job losses are the last thing they, or indeed the economy, needs."

A spokesperson for Debenhams insisted it would not be closing branches and remained committed to Ireland. It has invested €45m in the country over the past five years.

The chain has four stores in Dublin and two in Cork, in addition to branches in Limerick, Galway, Newbridge, and Tralee. It employs 1,700 people here.

It bought the Irish-owned Roches Stores business four years ago for €29m -- considered a bargain at the time.

Irish Independent

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