As the Irish Times reports, mandate trade union on Wednesday said 91 per cent of its members had voted against the proposals in a ballot.
It said 430 former Debenhams’ workers took part in the ballot with 393 rejecting the initiative while 37 supporting it.
The offer proposed the establishment by Government of a €3 million training, upskilling and business start-up fund to help the former workers. However, the union said the proposals “crucially, prevented the workers from accessing cash from the fund”.
The elected shop stewards from Debenhams will now meet to determine the next steps in their campaign for a fair redundancy package and changes to legislation to ensure workers are not treated like this in the future,” Mandate said.
The proposals formed part of a recommendation drawn up by mediator and Labour Court chairman Kevin Foley following extensive engagement with the workers, Mandate, liquidators KPMG and various Government agencies in an attempt to resolve the long-running dispute over redundancy payments.
Mr Foley found that a 2016 collective agreement for enhanced redundancy payments for staff no longer legally applied and that the current legal framework limited the scope for the liquidators to contribute to a resolution of the dispute which has been running since last spring.
He maintained that the main preferential creditors of the Debenhams Ireland liquidation were the Department of Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners, with a debt owed of approximately €18 million.
The State has paid out €13 million in statutory entitlements to the former employees.
Nothing rushed about special education reopening says Foley
Norma Foley says every effort is being made to ensure children with special educational needs can return to school.
Students with special education needs had been due attend classes in-person once again from today, before talks between the Department of Education and the unions collapsed on Tuesday.
Union representatives said staff were hesitant to return to the classroom with the current high levels of Covid-19 in the community.
Ms Foley accused the unions of being “disingenuous” saying it was regretful they would not accept the public health advice that schools are a safe, controlled environment.
Describing Ireland as an outlier when it comes to students with special educational needs not attending classes in-person, Minister Foley said opposition assertions that the plan was not thought through are wrong.
Referencing the Minister’s comments regarding the talks with teachers’ and special needs assistants’ representatives, Labour’s education spokesperson Aodhan O’Riordain said Ms Foley should not make comments in public if she wants to get a deal.
“Say what you have to say in private with those unions who have also committed to do the same thing and then potentially we may have a road map for achieving what we all want, which is that education can be delivered [to] those who need it most,” said Mr O’Riordain.
Despite the difficulties, Fórsa, which represents special needs assistants, has reaffirmed its commitment to resuming education for students with additional needs, resuming engagement with Department officials this afternoon to “improve safety provision and re-build confidence”.
Ireland making ‘clear progress’ says CMO but Level 5 likely for February
Dr Tony Holohan added the incidence of the virus in Ireland is now 10 times higher than it was when the Government eased public health restrictions in December and the country’s efforts to drive down the rate of infection must be maintained.
His comments come after Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Level 5 restrictions will likely continue “well into” February.
Speaking at the National Public Health Emergency Team’s (Nphet) briefing Dr Holohan said: “On December 1st, when we last eased restrictions, our five-day moving average was 261 cases per day, today it is almost 10 times that number at 2,430 cases per day.
“It is evident that the population is working as one to reduce contacts and interrupt further transmission of the disease. However, we are witnessing the effects of high levels of community transmission through our hospital and ICU admissions and reported deaths.
“We need to continue to work together to drive this infection down and bring the disease back under control.”
It comes as the chief executive of the HSE said the Covid-19 situation in hospitals is at the “highest level of concern that we’ve ever had”.
Thursday saw a further 51 deaths due to Covid-19 and 2,608 new cases of Covid-19 recorded by the Department of Health.
Of the cases notified today:
•1,230 are men / 1,346 are women
•55% are under 45 years of age
•The median age is 42 years old
•1,019 in Dublin, 204 in Cork, 135 in Donegal, 132 in Galway, 131 in Kildare, and the remaining 987 cases are spread across all other counties.
— Department of Health (@roinnslainte) January 21, 2021
Asked how long Covid-19 restrictions may remain in place Dr Holohan said Nphet did not have any reason to disagree with the Taoiseach’s expectations that Level 5 would continue for a number of weeks.
Dr Holohan said: “We have a very significant burden of infection. Looking at infection levels two weeks ago: they were very high, clearly very high.
“We’ve now reduced substantially in relative terms since then, but we have to look back to the beginning of December. We’re still 10 times higher.”
“It is simply a level of infection that’s way too high,” he added.
“We have further progress we have to make.”
The Taoiseach told Virgin Media’s Ireland AM that transmission rates of the virus were still too high to ease restrictions.
The Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 is expected to meet on Monday to finalise plans to extend the current restrictions before Cabinet ministers approve the measures at a meeting on Tuesday.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn told the briefing that more than 500 people had died of Covid-19 in Ireland so far this month.
He warned that the trend was expected to continue over the coming days.
Coronavirus latest data: How many cases are there…
“Sadly so far in the month of January there have been 532 deaths associated with Covid-19,” he said. “This compares with a total of 174 such deaths in the month of December and 164 such deaths in November.”
Earlier it emerged Dr Holohan had warned the Government last week that the death toll was likely to be up to 1,000 by the end of the month.
In a letter to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly on January 14th, Dr Holohan said the latest modelling data suggested that there could be at least 25 to 30 deaths a day.