Dunnes Workers’ Labour Court Hearing Adjourned

The Labour Court yesterday (Wednesday 2nd August 2017) adjourned the Dunnes Stores workers’ Labour Court case for six months pending the introduction of new primary legislation which has the potential to address the workers’ claims.

The Court was informed that two specific pieces of legislation are progressing through the Houses of the Oireachtas which would give Dunnes Stores workers, and all other workers in Ireland, the right to secure hour contracts.

Mandate can re-enter the case at any time over the coming months should the legislation not materialise or if it doesn’t address the serious concerns of Dunnes workers.

The first of these pieces of legislation is the Banded Hour Contracts Bill 2016, which was sponsored by Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane. This Bill, if passed, would enable workers to have a contract that reflects the hours they actually work. The government are also planning to introduce legislation in September which would address the key issues contained in the Mandate v Dunnes Stores Labour Court case.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said: “It is clear to us that Dunnes Stores management plans to fight tooth and nail to prevent their workers from having security over their hours and their incomes. They have threatened to challenge the legislation we brought this case under – the Industrial Relations Amendment Act 2015 – in every possible way, simply because they don’t want Dunnes workers to have what other retail workers have, a decent, secure income.”

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Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary

He added, “It is shameful that Dunnes management would behave in this way, and in the two years since the Dunnes Stores strike, they have continued their arrogant and reprehensible treatment of their own loyal staff.”

Mr Light explained that the Union and its members would commence a campaign for the swift passing of legislation by all members of the Oireachtas.

“Our members have waited long enough,” said Mr Light. “We had TD’s from every political party down at the picket lines in 2015 promising the workers their support. The Taoiseach of the day said he believed Dunnes workers should ‘have clarity about their working lives.’ Since then, very little has happened to give Dunnes and other workers security over their incomes. This is simply not good enough.”

The Banded Hours Contracts Bill has now progressed through the Joint Oireachtas Committee but is waiting for amendments to be ratified.

Mr Light said, “If there was an appetite from Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and Fianna Fail to sort this issue out, it could be done in September. That’s why we’re going to need all of the Dunnes workers, other Mandate members and the rest of the trade union movement to lobby these politicians and put pressure on them to pass this legislation as a matter of urgency.

More details on this campaign to follow.

Dunnes Stores pay claim

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Mandate Trade Union lodged a 3 percent pay claim for all Dunnes Stores workers in April 2017. Since then, Dunnes Stores have refused to respond to the claim. Mandate has this week referred the pay claim to the Workplace Relations Committee (WRC).

Dunnes Stores refusing to put new members onto payroll deduction

Since last October, Dunnes Stores have refused to process new members into the Union when they chose to pay Union dues through wages (deduction at source). This is in direct contravention of agreements and practices between Mandate and Dunnes Stores going back decades.

New members are encouraged to join on Mandate’s new online payment system at www.joinmandate.ie

Furthermore the company has also failed to implement last year’s subscription increase of 20 cent in Union deductions from wages.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said: “This is a deliberate attempt by Dunnes Stores to weaken your Union financially and harm our ability to effectively deal with the issues that matter to you and your fellow members both now and in the future.”

He added, “In light of this attack on your Union we have decided that all new applications for membership should be referred to our new on-line payment system.  This is a very simple method of enrolment and payment for new members.

“Perspective members can easily choose whether to pay their union subscriptions weekly or monthly with their debit or credit card.  This system will remove the need for paper application forms as all details can be provided on-line at the enrolment stage.  New members should be directed to sign up to Mandate at www.joinmandate.ie.

Organise, Organise, Organise

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If Dunnes Stores workers are to ensure that we achieve secure hour contracts and a decent living wage over the coming years, it is imperative that we continue to organise and get as many Dunnes Stores workers into our union as possible. This will enable us to lobby more effectively and prepare to take action when necessary.

Gerry Light said: “Together we have achieved a lot in recent years. Very few other workers have managed to win a 12% pay increase in four years, but that could be better if we were stronger.”

He added, “While we are developing the next steps in our Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign, which will include political lobbying and pressuring the government, it is in our own interests that we talk to the workers in our store that have not yet joined Mandate and convince them to join our campaign and our union. The path to making real progress in the workplace is for workers to use their collective power at the negotiating table, the more members we have the powerful we are.”

 

Mandate v Dunnes Stores Labour Court hearing rescheduled for late June

The Mandate Trade Union v Dunnes Stores case at the Labour Court in relation to security over hours and incomes for Dunnes Stores workers has been delayed until mid/late June.

While Dunnes Stores and their Senior Counsel attended the hearing, the Court is still dealing with ‘preliminary issues’ and Dunnes Stores made it clear they will be contesting Mandate’s claims.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said: “It is extremely frustrating that the case has been delayed but we will continue to pursue this important issue until it is resolved to the satisfaction of our members in Dunnes Stores.”

He added, “While the case may be delayed, Mandate will also continue to pressure government to introduce legislation which would give Dunnes workers and all other workers in Ireland security over their hours and their incomes.”

More information will be issued in due course but here is a broader update on the new legislation proposed by government.

A big week for the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign

The front page of yesterday’s (Sunday, 8th May 2017) Sunday Business Post was dominated by a headline stating “Dunnes Stores to be hit in workers’ rights crackdown.” The subheadings continued:

  • “New law means workers will be legally entitled to new agreements
  • Majority of Dunnes Stores’ 10,000 staff are on 15 hour contracts”

Over the last two years, the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign has been lobbying all politicians from all parties to support the Dunnes Stores workers and legislate to allow them to have certainty over the hours they work.

Subsequently, there are now three pieces of legislation progressing through the Oireachtas which, if implemented properly, would have the capacity to address the insecurity over weekly hours faced by a large proportion of Dunnes workers.

  • Sinn Fein put forward the Banded Hours Contracts Bill 2016 in July last year which passed second stage in the Dail and is now at a consultation phase in the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Unfortunately this Bill cannot pass any further stages due to an amendment submitted by Fianna Fail preventing the Bill from progressing for 12 months.
  • The Labour Party submitted the Protection of Employment (Uncertain Hours Bill) 2016 which passed unanimously through the Seanad last November. This Bill has not progressed any further at this stage.
  • Last week the Government published details of a Bill they intend passing which would address some of the issues Dunnes workers face but the Bill has several flaws and Mandate intends to lobby for amendments to better address the key issues affecting Dunnes workers.

In the meantime, while waiting for these Bills to pass through the Oireachtas, Mandate has proceeded with a case on behalf of Dunnes workers to the Labour Court under the Industrial (Amendment) Act 2015 to address the insecurity over weekly hours at work. That case is to be heard before the Labour Court tomorrow (Tuesday, 9th May 2017).

This case comes following the Dunnes Stores strike in April 2015 when the government of the day promised to bring in ‘collective bargaining’ legislation in order to help Dunnes workers achieve certainty of hours and earnings. Mandate has already progressed through the preliminary hearing and the full case will now be heard by the Labour Court.

The action taken by Dunnes workers on 2nd April 2015 led to these pieces of legislation being developed, and while they haven’t passed just yet, there is now no doubt that there will be stronger protections for all workers in Ireland as a result.

There will be more updates later this week and as these pieces of legislation progress through the Oireachtas.

View the Decency for Dunnes Workers coverage in the Sunday Business Post by clicking the link below:

Dunnes Coverage

Dunnes Update Circular

Labour Court Hearing Date:  Tuesday 9th May 2017

We have received confirmation from the Labour Court that the next hearing regarding our claim for greater certainty of weekly working hours for our members in Dunnes will take place on Tuesday 9th May 2017.

Regrettably it has taken much longer than we anticipated to progress matters at the Labour Court however bear in mind that the legislation we are taking the case under is very new and the matters we are addressing are complex in nature. Notwithstanding this reality don’t forget that the legislation in question would not exist and only came into force because it was won by you and your fellow members following the last one day dispute that formed part of our ongoing Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign.

Your Union is as committed as ever to bring about an end to the unjust practice of insecure hour contracts, something we believe more than ever has no place in Ireland’s leading and most successful retailer (see Kantar trading figures below).  By standing together and speaking with one strong determined voice we can and will achieve this key objective of our Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign.

Legislative Updates

As you are already aware, after Dunnes Stores members took industrial action in 2015, the Irish government implemented the Industrial Relations Amendment Act 2015. Your Union has followed this up with further lobbying in relation to ensuring workers have security over their hours at work. This has resulted in three separate pieces of legislation proceeding through the Oireachtas.

Firstly, Sinn Fein tabled the Banded Hours Contracts Bill in July 2016. This passed through the first stage in the Dail.  However, Fianna Fail made an amendment preventing the Bill from proceeding to the next stage of the legislative process for 12 months – this means it can proceed in a number of months if the government allows it to. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs is currently discussing this legislation and we have been invited to present to the Committee on behalf of Dunnes Stores members.

Secondly, in September 2016 the Labour Party brought forward the Uncertain Hours Bill and again it passed the first stage in the Dail.  This Bill would allow certainty of earnings and also prevent victimisation of workers for enforcing their rights through their trade union.  This Bill is awaiting the next stage. 

Finally, a third initiative is about to be presented to the Government which also attempts to address zero hour contracts, low hour contracts and related matters.   Your Union will continue to work to positively influence this and the other political initiatives outlined above as they progress.

Dunnes Stores holding top spot as Ireland’s largest grocer

According to the latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, for the first time ever Dunnes Stores has taken over the top spot as Ireland’s largest grocer for two consecutive months.  Dunnes now have a 22.9% share of the market. It is not unreasonable to expect that the business shares this considerable financial success with its workers at every available opportunity. 

Why the Tesco dispute is important to all retail workers

Tesco Ballyfermot picket (left) Mandate member from Dunnes Northside, Dave Campbell, showing support to the Tesco workers (right)

Thanks to all the Dunnes members who demonstrated their support and solidarity to their fellow Mandate members in Tesco during the recent strike 

You all are most likely aware of the recent strike and the ongoing dispute of your fellow Mandate members in Tesco.  Last year, Tesco Ireland’s management decided to attempt to fundamentally alter the terms and conditions of a small group of workers with over 21 years of loyal service to their company without meaningful engagement or agreement.  As a result of extreme pressure being brought to bear by management a large number of these workers decided to leave the business notwithstanding the fact that the Company by reference to a sound business case never justified the changes to their contracts of employment. 

For those members who decided to stand and fight Tesco’s actions eventually forced these workers and their colleagues in the stores affected to defend themselves and engage in industrial action in mid-February.  The strike was suspended after 12 days to allow for talks between Mandate and Tesco management at the Labour Court.  These discussions are ongoing.   

Be under no illusion the dispute in Tesco is one that has the potential to affect the entire retail sector.  You can be sure that all the other major retailers including Dunnes are waiting and watching with baited breath to see the outcome.  If Tesco get away with changing contracts of employment without agreement, no worker will be safe.

Your Union remains committed to find an agreed solution to the Tesco dispute and will always fight to ensure that no employer will ever be allowed change the established negotiated terms and conditions of employment of any of our members without their consent.   However, to do so successfully we must remain strong and united as a Union in all of our workplaces.   

Become more active in your Union

Mandate Shop Stewards, house committees and other active members play a central part in your Union in Dunnes.  Training and support is provided to anyone who takes up these important roles.  If you would be interested in taking up a more active role within the Union in your store please click the link below.
www.tinyurl.com/DunnesActive

URGENT: Dail to vote on your right to a Union

YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED NOW. This coming Wednesday (22nd February 2017) Dail Eireann will debate and vote on whether you should have trade union access at work. We all need to contact our TD’s and demand they stand with workers on this vital issue. Sign the petition by clicking here and contact your local TD’s below.

Watch John Douglas discuss the importance of the Bill here.

 

Mandate Trade Union is calling on all political parties and Independent TD’s to back the ‘Industrial Relations (Right to Access) (Amendment) Bill 2016’, which would ensure workers have an effective voice at work.

The Bill, put forward by Deputy David Cullinane from Sinn Fein, would allow employees access to their trade union representative at work. It is expected that most political parties in the Dail will vote in favour of the Bill but so far Fianna Fail have yet to decide their position. If they vote in favour, the Bill will pass and that’s why we must contact them and demand they stand with workers in Ireland.

“Employers have a disproportionate amount of power over their staff, particularly when workers are on low-hour contracts,” said John Mr Douglas, Mandate General Secretary.

“In companies like Dunnes Stores, workers are regularly called into disciplinary meetings with highly trained Human Resource Managers and they are refused access to their trade union official. This is completely unfair,” he said.

He added, “IKEA, another massive multinational retailer making enormous profits in Ireland has had their workers’ trade union officials physically removed from the car park for trying to discuss matters of concern for the workers.”

Mandate says Ireland has among the weakest legislative protections for workers in the developed world and that is one of the reasons Ireland has the second highest prevalence of low pay in the OECD, the second highest prevalence of underemployment in the EU15 and is considered one of the most ‘flexible’ workforces in the EU.

The ‘Right to Access Bill’, if passed, would go some way towards re-balancing power at work and would reduce exploitation in the workplace. The Irish Congress of Trade Union’s – representing 600,000 workers on the island of Ireland – is also backing the Bill.

Mandate Trade Union is calling on all members to contact their local TD’s and demand that they back workers having access to their trade union at work.

petition

FIANNA FAIL TD LISTINGS

Carlow/Kilkenny
Bobby Aylward
056 7764726

Carlow/Kilkenny
John McGuinness
056 7770672
087 2855834

Cavan/Monaghan
Brendan Smith
049 4362366

Cavan/Monaghan
Niamh Smyth
042 9666666
087 9982222

Clare
Timmy Dooley
065 6891115

Cork East
Kevin O Keefe
022 25320

Cork North Central
Billy Kelleher
021 4502289

Cork North West
Aindrias Moynihan
026 45828

Cork North West
Michael Moynihan
029 51299

Cork South Central
Michael McGrath
021 4376699

Cork South Central
Micheal Martin
021 4320088

Cork South West
Margaret Murphy O’Mahony
086 8529275

Donegal
Charlie McConalogue
074 9373131/074 9177282

Donegal
Pat The Cope Gallagher
074 95 21364
087 2238925

Dublin Bay North
Sean Haughey
01 6183695
087 3494888

Dublin Bay South
Jim O Callaghan
01 4758943

Dublin Fingal
Darragh O Brien
01 6183802

Dublin Midwest
John Curran
01 6183792

Dublin South West
John Lahart
01 4939608

Dublin West
Jack Chambers
086 4177335

Galway East
Anne Rabbitte
087 2424704

Galway West
Eamon O Cuiv
091 562846

Kerry
John Brassil
066 7133112
087 2362330

Kildare North
Frank O Rourke
087 2555257

Kildare North
James Lawless
086 8348869

Kildare South
Fiona O Loughlin
045 436792
087 2345160

Laois
Sean Fleming
057 8732692

Limerick City
Willie O Dea
061 454488/ 061 454522

Limerick County
Niall Collins
061 300149
087 2749659

Longford/Westmeath
Robert Troy
044 9334857

Louth
Declan Breathnach
087 2697638

Mayo
Dara Calleary
096 77613

Mayo
Lisa Chambers
094 9250577

Meath East
Thomas Byrne
01 6183310

Meath West
Shane Cassells
086 3399198

Offaly
Barry Cowen
057 9321976

Roscommon/Galway
Eugene Murphy
071 963 3000

Sligo/Leitrim
Eamon Scanlon
071 9197903/ 071 9302537

Sligo/Leitrim
Marc Mac Sharry
086 2674764

Tipperary
Jackie Cahill
087 2820663

Waterford
Mary Butler
087 7425020

Wexford
James Browne
086 8575387

Wicklow
Pat Casey
086 2649483

Constituency Name Contact Number Mobile
Carlow/Kilkenny Bobby Aylward 056 7764726
Carlow/Kilkenny John McGuinness 056 7770672 087 2855834
Cavan/Monaghan Brendan Smith 049 4362366
Cavan/Monaghan Niamh Smyth 042 9666666 087 9982222
Clare Timmy Dooley 065 6891115
Cork East Kevin O Keefe 022 25320
Cork North Central Billy Kelleher 021 4502289
Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan 026 45828
Cork North West Michael Moynihan 029 51299
Cork South Central Michael McGrath 021 4376699
Cork South Central Micheal Martin 021 4320088
Cork South West Margaret Murphy O’Mahony 086 8529275
Donegal Charlie McConalogue 074 9373131/074 9177282
Donegal Pat The Cope Gallagher 074 95 21364 087 2238925
Dublin Bay North Sean Haughey 01 6183695 087 3494888
Dublin Bay South Jim O Callaghan 01 4758943
Dublin Fingal Darragh O Brien 01 6183802
Dublin Midwest John Curran 01 6183792
Dublin South West John Lahart 01 4939608
Dublin West Jack Chambers 086 4177335
Galway East Anne Rabbitte 087 2424704
Galway West Eamon O Cuiv 091 562846
Kerry John Brassil 066 7133112 087 2362330
Kildare North Frank O Rourke 087 2555257
Kildare North James Lawless 086 8348869
Kildare South Fiona O Loughlin 045 436792 087 2345160
Laois Sean Fleming 057 8732692
Limerick City Willie O Dea 061 454488/ 061 454522
Limerick County Niall Collins 061 300149 087 2749659
Longford/Westmeath Robert Troy 044 9334857
Louth Declan Breathnach 087 2697638
Mayo Dara Calleary 096 77613
Mayo Lisa Chambers 094 9250577
Meath East Thomas Byrne 01 6183310
Meath West Shane Cassells 086 3399198
Offaly Barry Cowen 057 9321976
Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy 071 963 3000
Sligo/Leitrim Eamon Scanlon 071 9197903/ 071 9302537
Sligo/Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry 086 2674764
Tipperary Jackie Cahill 087 2820663
Waterford Mary Butler 087 7425020
Wexford James Browne 086 8575387
Wicklow Pat Casey 086 2649483

worker-rights

Dunnes Stores concede Mandate Trade Union’s 3% pay claim

12% pay increase welcomed, but security of hours and earnings still main issue for Dunnes workers

Mandate Trade Union has welcomed concession of a 3 percent pay claim for Dunnes Stores workers, which is the fourth increase in four years, culminating in a 12 percent pay increase for almost 10,000 workers.

However, the Union said the majority of all Dunnes staff are still working on low-hour contracts and this insecurity over hours needs to be addressed immediately.

Dunnes workers can have their hours slashed at the sole discretion of a local manager, reducing their income from €400 per week to as low as €150 per week. This can potentially make any pay increase somewhat irrelevant, according to Mandate.

The Union lodged a claim for a 3 percent pay increase on March 30th and the Labour Court had recently set a date for a hearing for 1st December.

However, this morning Dunnes management confirmed concession of the claim at in-store meetings at different locations across the country. Reports indicate the pay increase will be back dated to the 3rd October 2016.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said, “This is another massive success for the workers in Dunnes Stores who have stuck together in their Union and campaigned for better pay and working conditions for all Dunnes workers.”

He added, “With housing and rental costs increasing and motor insurance up significantly, this will go some way towards ensuring Dunnes workers are not left out of pocket.

“Importantly, this shows our campaign is still making progress,” Mr Light said, “but workers also need security of hours – which hasn’t been conceded by Dunnes management yet. Without secure hour contracts, this pay increase can become meaningless if management decide to reduce hours by two or three in a week.”

Mandate is demanding secure hour contracts in Dunnes Stores which would give workers certainty over their income. The Union is calling on all political parties and Independent representatives to legislate and make this a reality for workers in retail and other sectors of the economy where precarious work is prevalent.

Mr Light said: “Any pay increase must be implemented in conjunction with secure hour contracts to ensure workers have certainty of earnings from week to week. If Dunnes refuse to do the right thing by their workers, we will pursue this issue through political and legislative avenues.

He added, “The best way to ensure this pay increase is not paid for through cuts to hours is be a member of Mandate Trade Union and join the claim for secure hours that is about to be presented to the Labour Court in the near future.”

Mr Light concluded, “What our members in Dunnes are asking for is very reasonable and is afforded to all workers in Dunnes’ major competitors in the retail sector, including Tesco, Penneys, Marks & Spencer and Supervalu. They want secure hours and earnings, job security, fair pay and the right to be represented by their trade union.”

Dunnes Stores employs almost 10,000 workers in 114 stores in the Republic of Ireland.

Dunnes Stores member update – 27, Sept 2016

Please find below an update in respect of the following issues

1. Pay Claim for 2016

On the 30th March 2016 your union served a claim on your employer seeking the following

  • 3% pay increase
  • Guaranteed minimum increases in hourly rates of pay
  • Review of working hours to include the creation of a number of full time jobs

Dunnes Stores management have failed to respond to the claim served on your behalf leaving your union with no option but to refer the matters outlined to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Even though your employer was contacted by the WRC over the past number of months they declined to respond to a request to engage with your union. Accordingly we are left with no option but to refer the claim to the Labour Court for their consideration and this we have done as a matter of urgency.

2. Claim for security of weekly working hours

As you are all aware one of the key objectives of the ongoing Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign is our fight for better weekly hours. As part of our one day dispute in 2015 we won from Government the introduction of new legislation which allowed the Labour Court issue legally binding recommendations. Your fight for improved hours was one of the first referred to the Court under this legislation and we are currently working through the process since the preliminary hearing on 1st June 2016. Whilst it might appear to be taking a long time, your union is as determined as ever to achieve a successful outcome.

3. Legislation/Political Updates

Again as a consequence of our ongoing Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign we continue to lobby politicians in an effort to bring about legislative changes that support our objectives. To this end Sinn Fein introduced a Bill on banded hour contracts which was passed by the Dail on 7th July 2016. The Labour Party are about to introduce a Bill in the Seanad which also attempts to guarantee workers the right to the hours that they actually work as opposed to those that appear as a minimum on their contract.

In conclusion we want to reassure you that your union will continue to fight for fair and proper treatment for our members employed in Dunnes Stores. Surely all Dunnes workers are entitled to their fair share from a business that continues to grow sales and profits.

Together we must remain committed to achieving the objectives that have been prioritised by all Dunnes members. Success, although slow, will happen. However, in order to ensure it does happen, we must continue to maintain strong membership levels and a renewed determination to organise if we are to make lasting and positive change in Dunnes Stores.

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