Saturday 24 March 2018

Workers at troubled store in line for pay rise

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Anne Marie Walsh

More than 1,300 Debenhams workers are in line for a 2.5pc pay rise in a deal that is being hammered out just a year after the troubled high street chain exited examinership.

Sources revealed the wage hike covering two years up to September 2019 is on the cards after it sought almost 100 voluntary redundancies last year.

Although the increase is worth just over 1pc a year, it is evidence the British retail giant is bouncing back after suffering consistent losses since the recession.

But unions are still concerned about the future of the retail giant that has struggled with lower customer numbers and growth in online shopping after it was revealed that Sports Direct has increased its stake in the chain.

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley's sportswear group has already upped its share in French Connection, video game specialist Game Digital and took over Heatons two years ago. It has also emerged that he approached Dunnes Stores to buy a number of its outlets as part of a wider expansion drive in the Republic.

Mandate will be seeking a meeting with the shareholder to "confirm its intentions in relation to job security, rates of pay and conditions of employment, among other things".

Spokesperson Dave Gibney said it would discuss the proposed agreement with shop stewards early next month.

Rebecca Maund, a spokesperson for Debenhams head office in the UK, said the human resources team was still in negotiations with unions on the agreement and would not comment until the talks end.

Irish Independent

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