Thursday, 1 April 2021
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I would not patronise the Debenhams workers by suggesting that they do not know precisely how they have been treated and what the facts of their dispute are. Is it not funny, as the shop stewards from Debenhams and Arcadia asked me before I came here, how the law and the system always favours the big corporations over, as the workers describe themselves, "the little people"? KPMG, a massively wealthy accountancy firm, sent its agents in to break a strike during level 5 restrictions which prevent non-essential retail outlets from opening. KPMG was allowed to do that but workers who protest peacefully, wear masks and are socially distanced are removed. That is the reality. How is it that the law never protects the workers? It is always too complicated to protect the workers. One of the Arcadia workers just told me that this is the third occasion in her lifetime she has not been paid her redundancy entitlements in situations of retail insolvency because successive Governments have failed to act to protect workers. There is always emergency legislation for the big people. There are always excuses for them, but action is never taken to protect workers who are treated in this despicable way.