Mandate Trade Union, the union for retail workers, has today (Tuesday, 6 October 2015) launched an online survey to establish conditions of employment in the retail sector in Ireland.The survey can be accessed at and is open to all retail workers in Ireland. It is being launched on the eve of World Day for Decent Work.

One of the key aims of the survey is to investigate the prevalence of low-pay and zero hour and low-hour contracts in the retail industry, and the impact this has on workers. It will also look into the treatment of staff in terms of respect and dignity in the workplace. Finally, now that there is talk of recovery in the retail sector, it will establish whether retail workers are receiving their fair share of that recovery.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said,

“Ireland currently has the second highest prevalence of low pay in the entire OECD and the second highest prevalence of underemployment in the EU15. We want to establish the impact on working conditions that new arrivals into the Irish market are having like Lidl, Aldi and Dealz. Late last year we surveyed 1,400 Dunnes Stores workers, and the results were frightening. 98 percent of workers surveyed said they wanted more stable hours, while 85 percent said the allocation of hours was being used as a method of control over them. We are trying to establish whether this is replicated in the wider retail sector, and if so, how it can be challenged.” He added, “Recent Kantar figures show the Irish grocery market has experienced consecutive growth over the last 18 months. We want to establish whether workers are sharing in this sustained growth.”

The wholesale and retail sector is the largest employment sector in Ireland with more than 271,000 people working in it. It also represents one of the lowest paid sectors, most flexible workforces and one of the most non-compliant sectors in terms of employment law with 41 percent of inspections conducted by the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) in breach of legislation.

Mandate also say the survey will help them to compare working conditions in the union and non-union retail sector in Ireland.The union is asking all retail workers to complete the survey by Friday, 30th October. The results of the survey will be published in mid-November.

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