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Debenhams tells staff they’ll have to claim redundancy pay from the Government – Usdaw says staff are not being treated with dignity

Date: 30 April 2020 Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw has called for urgent talks with Debenhams and their administrators to give staff a voice in the future of the business. The company has written to all employees threatening more redundancies, further store closures and staff ‘will be required to apply to the Government for statutory payments, including redundancy pay and pay in lieu of notice’.
Dave Gill - Usdaw National Officer says: “Debenhams staff have been in turmoil for a long time as they’ve seen the company go into administration, make significant store closures and job losses, come out of administration, close stores because of Coronavirus, furlough staff and then go back into administration. Now they are being threatened with further redundancies and more store closures.
 
“It is deeply concerning that Debenhams plan to pass the burden of redundancy pay and pay in lieu of notice onto taxpayers, particularly as they are already in receipt of huge grants to pay 80% of furloughed workers’ wages. It is too easy in this country for companies to sack staff and dump the responsibilities on the state. There needs to be significant reforms to make it harder for businesses to abandon their staff.
 
“To top that, Debenhams continues their anti-union stance. We urge the administrators to turn their back on that disgraceful position and engage with Usdaw, the trade union for Debenhams staff and we remind them that by law they have to conduct meaningful consultations on any proposed job losses.
 
“It’s crucial that the staff and their voice should be heard and they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. We will continue to provide our members with the support and advice they need at this very difficult time.”
 
Notes for editors:
 
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 400,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
 
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers