Union calls on company to prevent strike by entering meaningful negotiations

Mandate Trade Union members in Dunnes Stores have today (Friday, 6th March) voted by more than two thirds in favour of industrial action.

The Union says a national strike committee will convene on Tuesday to determine the type of industrial action and the date of that action.

Dunnes Stores worker Cathy Mcloughlin said:

“Our employer continues to refuse entering into discussions with us through our union, and they won’t even go to the Labour Court to address our issues. None of us want to go on strike because we really can’t afford it, but what other option have we got? Our employer can stop the strike by simply agreeing to meet our Union and we don’t feel that’s an unreasonable request.”

Addressing the issues in dispute, Ms Mcloughlin said: “We have bills to pay and children to feed but we don’t know what hours we’ll get from week to week. We can’t live like this anymore.

Result from survey of Dunnes Stores workers from the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign

Result from survey of Dunnes Stores workers from the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign

“All we’re really asking is to be treated the same as workers in other retail outlets like Tesco, Penneys and Supervalu who have secure hours and a right to be represented by their union.”

  • Dunnes Stores workers want a number of issues addressed including:
  • The implementation of banded hour contracts which would give workers security of hours and earnings.
  • Fair pay for all workers in Dunnes Stores.
  • A review of Dunnes’ excessive use of temporary contracts of employment.
    Individual and collective representational rights for Dunnes workers.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said:

“Despite Dunnes Stores threatening job losses and cuts in hours, our members have taken the remarkable and very brave decision of voting in favour of industrial action.

The close result of this ballot is a reflection of the nervousness felt by staff members over their security of income and security of their jobs,” continued Mr Light.

“They have reached the end of the road and in many ways the result of the ballot today was the inevitable waiting to happen. Where else can they go after the Company has closed off and rejected all reasonable approaches by the Union and the Labour Court to deal with the issues in dispute?”

He added, “Least we forget, Dunnes remains a highly profitable retailer with an estimated turnover of approximately €2.2b in the Irish grocery sector alone. It won’t cost them anything but pride to sit down and negotiate a banded hours framework which would afford their employees the same security of hours and income which is common place in all of their main competitors.

Mr Light concluded: “One again we are saying directly to senior management and the owners of the Company that industrial action is entirely avoidable. Furthermore we are calling on them to do the responsible, reasonable and morally correct thing, and that is to enter into meaningful discussions with Mandate Trade Union. This is obviously in the best interests of the workers and of the company.”

NOTE TO EDITOR

A Dunnes Stores survey of more than 1,200 workers took place last November with the following results:

  • 76% of workers say they are on part time flexible contracts.
  • 98% of workers want more stable hours.
  • 85% say insecurity of hours and rostering is used as a method of control.
  • 98% of workers want Dunnes to respect their right to trade union representation.
  • 88% of workers believe hours are unfairly distributed.
  • 97% of workers believe that if hours become available in their store, they should be offered to existing staff in the first instance.
  • 89% say it is common practice that new staff on lesser terms and lesser rates of pay receive more hours than longer serving staff on better terms.
  • 83% say temporary contracts are being used outside of busy trading periods and Christmas.
  • 88% feel Dunnes workers are not treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
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Paula Geraghty

Journalist-Photography/video. Real people, real issues. Journalism of hope, about people who fight for a better world. @TradeUnion_TV Usual T&Cs apply

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