Written answers

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment

Industrial Disputes

Photo of Paul MurphyPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, RISE)
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56. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment if he has made contact with a company (details supplied) and the trade unions to discuss the difficulties staff are having with the company. [27549/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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Aer Lingus has announced their intention to restructure the business in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. I fully understand the difficulties this may bring to workers, their families and their localities, during an already challenging period.

I am aware that constructive engagement with senior representatives from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection took place to ensure that employees were eligible to apply for applicable jobseeker supports for days of unemployment, even when Aer Lingus is claiming the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme.

Any discussions entered into voluntarily by the workers and employers with one of the State’s industrial relations bodies, the WRC or the Labour Court, are confidential to the parties and I, as Minister, have no role in, or knowledge of, these discussions.

I encourage all sides to make every effort to reach a resolution by agreement between companies and workers with the help of the industrial relations machinery of the State.

Photo of Mick BarryMick Barry (Cork North Central, Solidarity)
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57. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment the contacts he has had with a company (details supplied) and trade unions regarding an ongoing dispute; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29994/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The Taoiseach and Ministers Troy and English and I have met with Debenhams employees and their union, Mandate, on a number of occasions to hear their views and concerns about the liquidation of Debenhams Ireland.

The government fully appreciates how difficult the situation is for those involved and their families. All relevant state agencies are working in a coordinated way to support those who have lost their jobs. The State will guarantee statutory employment rights to the workers of Debenhams, including statutory redundancy and will provide job-search assistance and upskilling opportunities.

A number of suggestions have been made as to how the Government might intervene. However, the Government cannot intervene with a liquidator, who has a statutory duty to realise assets and distribute to creditors in accordance with the law. Equally the Government has no statutory power to intervene in a court-supervised liquidation, that is subject to oversight of the High Court.

Any discussions entered into voluntarily by the workers and employers with one of the State’s industrial relations bodies, the WRC or the Labour Court, are confidential to the parties and I, as Minister, have no role in, or knowledge of, these discussions.

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