Debenhams workers win case at WRC – Award-winning film 406 DAYS documenting their case opens in cinemas across Ireland 26 May 2023

Former Debenhams workers have won their test case at Work Relations Commission (WRC) on the basis that Debenhams did not begin consultation with workers at the right time or supply information.  This test case was brought by Jane Crowe, Shop Steward at former Henry Street Debenhams, branch and could have implications for a further 800 former staff members.

Multi award-winning film, 406 DAYS, which documents the story of the 1,000 Irish Debenhams workers who were made redundant through a generic email on the 9th of April 2020 after Debenhams UK Retail Ltd closed all 11 Irish stores including their flagship store on Henry St. Dublin 1.  The workforce, 95% female, had been denied an earlier agreed redundancy package. 

We’re delighted with the victory, which proves we were right to strike for 406 days.  It may not be the amount we wanted but it is a victory.  Now we hope Leo Varadker will take up our offer to help with legislation so this doesn’t happen again.

Jane Crowe, former shop steward Henry Street, Debenhams

406 DAYS opens in cinemas nationwide on 26 May 2023, exactly 2 years after the workers voted to finish strike on 26 May 2021.

What a great victory!  Congratulations to all the workers who remained united for 406 days to stand up for fair treatment after years of loyal service in employment.  It’s a testament to the power of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Joe Lee, Director

The workers voted to go on official strike and blocked stock being removed from the 11 stores by the liquidator.  The workers remained on the picket lines, through the Covid 19 pandemic for 406 days, making it the longest industrial dispute in Irish labour history.  It finally ended in May 2021 through a compromise government-sponsored proposal based on a retraining fund.

But the telling of the very human stories of courage, determination, and friendship that lay behind the conflict are told here for the first time in 406 DAYS -The Debenhams Picket Line.

This is a fantastic result for all the Debenhams workers, 95% of them women.  It is a vindication of their determination to stand on a picket line for over a year.  Hopefully, this will lead to new legislation where people are protected.

Fergus Dowd, Producer

About Luke Dunne

Luke is a writer, film addict and Dublin native who loves how much there is for film fans in his home county. A former writer for FilmFixx and the Freakin' Awesome Network, he founded Film In Dublin to pursue his dual dreams of writing about film and never sleeping ever again.

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