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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 May 2020

Further protests in Ireland against Debenhams closures - UK fightback needed

Protesters in Ireland outside Debenhams 30 April photo Stand With Debenhams Workers

Protesters in Ireland outside Debenhams 30 April photo Stand With Debenhams Workers   (Click to enlarge)

Among the slew of retail companies entering administration, Debenhams has the highest profile, not least for only recently coming out of administration after closures. A wave of warehouse and shop closures went through in 2017. A further three UK stores closed in December 2019, and then 19 more in January 2020.

This time the administration has been ended by its lenders buying out the company, including Bank of Ireland and Barclays who benefited from government support after the 2007-08 economic crisis, and engaging in attacks on workers.

These include the closures of all the company's stores in Ireland, sparking protests outside stores, which the police dispersed despite social distancing (see 'Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest' at socialistparty.org.uk). This was met by further workers' protests on 29 April at stores across the country.

While in receipt of government funds for furloughing staff, Debenhams is closing at least 11 UK stores. It is telling workers in those stores that they will need to claim redundancy from the government. In Wales, where the Welsh government isn't extending business rates relief to larger stores with rates above 500,000, the company has threatened to close its five largest Welsh stores.

We welcome the two rounds of protests by Debenhams workers in Ireland, and the support given to workers by the 450 plus-strong online rally organised by their trade union, Mandate. With a similar number of closures here, we have to ask why retail union Usdaw hasn't at least done the same.

In 2017, following the collapse of BHS, Usdaw conference adopted a policy of calling for collapsing retail companies to be brought into public ownership. Debenhams shouldn't be bailed out, it should be nationalised to save jobs. UK workers should take a lead from their colleagues in Ireland and get organised.

Socialist Party members in Usdaw

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In The Socialist 6 May 2020:


What we think

Bosses push to lift lockdown - they only care about profits


Coronavirus news

Dispatches from the NHS front

Bail out the real wealth creators, not the rich

Homes needed to end overcrowding

Homeless left on streets during pandemic

Pay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!

Them&Us

Your donations can keep the Socialist going


Test and trace

Test and trace: workers need a real plan

Tories using pandemic to shift lab testing out of NHS


Workplace news

Nationalise British Airways to stop 12,000 redundancies

Postal workers force Royal Mail back

No increase in transport capacity without adequate safety precautions for workers and passengers

Unsafe Workplace? "It's up to you" PCS tells reps and members

Further protests in Ireland against Debenhams closures - UK fightback needed

Rolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses

EDF Energy workers furloughed on 100% pay


International news

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

Trump puts profit before safety (again)


Lessons from history

The Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2


Obituary

Peter Hadden remembered


Readers' opinion

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?


 

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