// Six people arrested as Debenhams workers protest in Dublin, Ireland
// Former Irish Debenhams staff have been holding sit-ins in a dispute over redundancy terms
// The Irish arm of Debenhams, which operated 11 stores, was placed into liquidation in April
Six people have been arrested during a protest by Debenhams workers in Dublin, Ireland’s national police service said.
Former Debenhams staff have been holding sit-ins at the retailer’s Irish stores since April in a dispute with the firm over redundancy terms.
The gardai said they attended incidents at stores on Henry Street in Dublin and Patrick Street in Cork on Monday morning.
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“Six persons have been arrested at Henry Street in Dublin for trespassing under the Public Order Act,” a garda spokesman said.
“An act of criminal damage is also being investigated.”
The six protesters were detained at Store Street garda station in Dublin but have been released pending further investigations.
It is understood that three of those who were taken into custody were former workers at the Henry Street store.
Gardai remain at the scene at Patrick Street in Cork.
The Irish arm of Debenhams, which operated 11 stores in the country, was placed into liquidation in April.
Around 950 staff were employed directly by Debenhams Retail Ireland, with an additional 500 workers at in-store concession stands operated by other retailers.
Some now-former staff allege that the redundancy package offered to them when the company was liquidated was unfair.
They are set to receive statutory redundancy payouts of two weeks of salary per year of service. The workers are demanding four weeks’ pay per service year.
They are also calling on the Irish Government to waive monies owed to it through the liquidation process so they can be used to boost the redundancy packages.
A potential deal between KPMG, Debenhams’ liquidator in Ireland, and trade union Mandate was announced last week but the workers continued to demonstrate, saying the deal failed to deliver four weeks’ pay per service year.
KPMG has warned that the blockade of stock removal is slowing the liquidation process.
The workers have been blocking the removal of stock from the stores since their closure.
The dispute has lasted more than 150 days.
The store closures came after Debenhams’ core UK business entered administration and ended its financial support of the Irish business.
More than 120 Debenhams stores in the UK have reopened, although the business remains up for sale and bosses have warned its administration could last until early next year.
with PA Wires