Dunnes workers lodge life-changing pay claim

Union seeks minimum 7.7% pay increase for all workers

Dunnes Stores workers today lodged a pay claim with the company seeking significant pay increases, additional annual leave days, improvements to the staff discount scheme and the creation of full-time jobs.

Citing increased living costs and the positive contribution of staff to the business during the pandemic, the workers say they should be rewarded fairly for the work they do.

“Workers all over the country are struggling right now, yet many employers, like Dunnes Stores, are capable of paying higher wages and improving conditions of employment. Those that can pay, should pay,” said Patrick Killeen, Dunnes worker from Mayo and member of Mandate Trade Union’s Dunnes National Committee.

“What we want is a brand new pay scale for all Dunnes Stores workers which provides a decent standard of living and rewards us for our loyalty and experience,” added Killeen.

If successful, this new pay scale would provide those on the lowest point of the pay scale with a 7.7 percent hourly pay increase and those on the top with 7.9 percent increase.

“We believe this is reasonable given inflation is currently running at more than 9 percent,” said Killeen.

Mandate’s National Coordinator Lorraine O’Brien explained: 

“There are multiple pay scales in Dunnes Stores where some workers are on higher wages than others for doing the exact same job. We want to harmonise the pay and benefits for all Dunnes workers but we want to ensure pay equality is done in a way that brings the lowest earners up to the top.”

New pay & annual leave increments

ServiceRate of payAnnual Leave
 Year 1 €13.30ph 21 Days
 Year 2 €14.00ph 22 Days
 Year 3 €14.75ph 23 Days
 Year 4 €15.50ph 24 Days
 Year 5 €16.25ph 25 Days
Year 6 €17.75ph25 Days
Year 10 €19.75ph25 Days

The pay claim has been formed following extensive consultation with Dunnes workers, including a survey of more than 1600 staff.

Some of the key results include:

  • 92% said if hours become available they should be offered to existing staff first.
  • Nine out of ten workers agreed that additional annual leave should be provided.
  • 87% said understaffing is an issue in their store.
  • 79% say all workers should have access to the same incremental pay scale.
  • When asked whether they felt they were being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve 65% said no, and only one in five said yes.
  • 51% of post-2007 staff said they want to work additional hours.

“The allocation of hours and understaffing are serious concerns for Dunnes workers. Many of us want to work longer hours because we can’t pay our bills, but the company won’t allow us, choosing to either understaff stores, which leads to huge pressure on staff, which in turn leads to health and safety concerns, or else they hire more workers on lower rates of pay,” said Alex Homits, Dunnes worker and Mandate activist from Dublin.

The workers are also seeking changes to the sick pay scheme.

Alex explained: “We’re still in the midst of a pandemic which has changed how we should look at things like sick pay. Dunnes workers and tens of thousands of other shop workers risked their lives and their health over the last two years and the least we should get is a decent sick pay scheme.”

He added: “Right now thousands of workers are forced to come to work with illnesses because of financial necessity. That’s not good for the worker, their families or our customers who often pick up the illnesses we have. We want an 8 week paid sick pay scheme and all staff should have access to this after their 6 month probation.”

Another item on the Dunnes workers’ pay claim is fully paid maternity and paternity leave.

“With the cost of energy, rents, house prices and everything else going up so much in recent months, it is impossible to survive without fully paid maternity leave. If workers don’t have enough income when on maternity or paternity leave, not only do they suffer, but their children suffer too,” said Liz Loftus, Dunnes worker from Dublin and Mandate activist.

Meeting

A national meeting open to all Dunnes Stores workers will take place online on Tuesday August 23rd at 8pm for 1 hour. The purpose of the meeting is to outline the results of our recent Dunnes workers survey and to give a briefing on your new pay and benefits claim which Mandate has lodged with the company on behalf of our members. If you wish to attend please input your details below to register.

FULL DUNNES PAY & BENEFITS CLAIM 2022
1. Fair Pay & Annual Leave
 Create one equal pay scale for all Dunnes workers with access to top point after 10 year’s service. Additional annual leave entitlements based on service with the company.  

 ServiceRate of payAnnual Leave
 Year 1 €13.30ph 21 Days
 Year 2 €14.00ph 22 Days
 Year 3 €14.75ph 23 Days
 Year 4 €15.50ph 24 Days
 Year 5 €16.25ph 25 Days
Year 6 €17.75ph25 Days
Year 10 €19.75ph25 Days
  • Minimum unsocial hours rate (10pm-8am) of Time +1/2
  • Minimum public holiday rate of Time +1/2 (and an additional day’s pay)

* After 25 years’ service Dunnes workers continue to receive an extra week of annual leave bringing their total to 30 days.

2. Privilege card

Remove monthly limit (€1,000) on staff discount card.

3. Sick pay
8 weeks paid sick leave and all staff to have access to sick pay after their 6 month probation.
4. Full Time Jobs & Allocation of Hours 
 The opportunity for Dunnes workers to obtain full time jobs. Additional hours should be offered on a fair and equitable basis to existing staff before hiring new workers.  
 
5. Fair Scheduling
 Fairer scheduling for a better work/life balance. All Dunnes workers to receive a four week roster with changes only through mutual agreement. One weekend off in every four. More flexibility from Management with day off requests. A workplace with safe and adequate staffing levels.

6.Maternity/Paternity/Parental leave/Parent’s leave
 
All workers to receive full pay when on Maternity and Paternity Leave. More flexibility when taking Parental Leave to enable workers to take it as separate days or weeks. More flexibility when taking Parent’s Leave, taken as separate weeks.

7. Right to Representation
Dunnes Stores management must recognise and respect their workers’ right to individual and collective representation by their Trade Union.

Dunnes worker’s want pay equality and fairer allocation of hours, according to survey

The Dunnes worker’s survey results are in and 1,600 workers have had their say. Of those who completed the survey, 60% were members of Mandate Trade Union and 40% non-members.

Some of the key results include:

  • 92% said if hours become available they should be offered to existing staff first.
  • 87% said understaffing is an issue in their store.
  • 79% say all workers should have access to the same incremental pay scale.
  • 51% of post-2007 staff said they want to work additional hours.

The results of this survey will help the Dunnes National Committee formulate Mandate’s 2022 pay claim on behalf of members of the union.

Pay & Annual Leave

The average pay rate for a Dunnes worker is €14.49. However, pay fluctuated significantly with Mandate members (€15.60) earning 22% more than non-members (€12.79) on average. The vast majority of workers are supportive of a pay equality claim with four out of five saying they want all workers to move to the highest pay scale.

Nine out of ten workers agreed that additional annual leave should be provided.

Secure hour contracts

Dunnes workers are more likely to have secure hours if they are a member of Mandate with 57% of members on a banded hour contract compared to only 24% of non-members. Interestingly, it seems the company is more likely to respond to members of the union who apply for secure hours.

Only 2.8% of Mandate members said they had requested a banded hour contract but had not had a response from management, but that figure was more than double (6%) for non-members, again, showing that you’re better off in a union.

Roster notice

There are huge fluctuations in roster notice with:

  • 38% receiving 4 weeks’ notice;
  • 32% receiving 3 weeks’ notice;
  • 22% receiving 2 weeks notice; and
  • 8% receiving 1 weeks’ notice.

While 59% of respondents said they are satisfied with their rostering notice overall, 86% of those with only one weeks’ notice said they were unsatisfied.

Respect

When asked whether they felt they were being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, two thirds said no, and only one in five said yes.

Other results

When asked if there was one thing Dunnes workers would change, the largest response was “management” followed by “work/life balance” and “improved pay”. Other priorities for workers included being treated fairly and with respect.

Furthermore:

  • 95% agreed or strongly agreed that staff should be provided with the opportunity to receive full-time jobs.
  • 92% agreed or strongly agreed that hours should be allocated fairly among all staff.
  • 90% agreed or strongly agreed that Dunnes should provide more flexibility on day off requests.
  • 90% agreed or strongly agreed that Dunnes should establish fully paid maternity and paternity leave.
  • 89% agreed or strongly agreed that additional annual leave days should be provided.

Next Steps

It is the intention of the Dunnes National Committee to lodge a pay claim in the coming weeks which will address the issues identified through the survey. The only way we will achieve success is if the Union increases density levels within Dunnes. If you would like to become active in the campaign, please contact your local shop steward.

Your rights in Dunnes Stores – Maternity Leave

Overview

All female Dunnes workers are entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave. An employee who has taken maternity leave is also entitled to a further optional additional unpaid maternity leave of 16 weeks at the end of the period of maternity leave.

When a colleague returns from maternity leave they are entitled to return to their previous position with no less favourable terms and conditions.

Employees must start their maternity leave not later than 2 weeks before the expected birth date and the leave must not end earlier than 4 weeks after the birth.

Antenatal Care

Employees are entitled to paid time off for antenatal care (including travelling time). This includes normal hospital visits concerning the health of the mother and child i.e. examinations and tests.

Antenatal Classes

Employees can avail of one set of antenatal classes without loss of pay for expectant first time mothers. You must give notice of dates, times of classes in advance including location, distance from store, travel time as soon as practicable but no later than 2 weeks before the date of the class.

Expectant fathers have a once off right to paid time off to attend two antenatal classes immediately prior to the birth, employees are required to notify your Manager of the intention to take this as soon as practicable but no later than two weeks before the date of the class.

Maternity- Health & Safety
 
Management in stores are obliged to conduct a one-to-one meeting with the new or expectant mothers to go through the following;

  • Reduce the need for manual handling as far as practical, be aware of changing ability to lift and carry as the pregnancy progresses.
  • Follow the correct manual handling techniques you were trained to follow at induction.
  • Avoid situations where the abdomen is exposed to bumps or whole body vibration e.g. Fork lift trucks, confined areas where the abdomen keeps being bumped against objects, manual handling of large objects.
  • Take regular breaks and appropriate rest.
  • Discuss, with your Manager, amending hours/workload if necessary, as pregnancy progresses and on return to work, when required.
  • Avoid working in situations where excessive heat is encountered. Drink plenty of fluids.
  • If you are concerned that your work may be affecting your pregnancy, ask your Doctor or Midwife for their advice. Let your manager know the outcome of these discussions, and they may seek further advice from Occupational Health.

During Maternity Leave

During maternity leave the employees are entitled to accrue leave for any public holidays that occur including additional maternity leave.

Time spent on maternity leave including additional maternity leave is treated as though the employee has been in continuous employment, and this time will be used to accrue annual leave entitlement.

After Maternity Leave

Employees are entitled to paid time off for postnatal care if required.

After Maternity leave an employee may wish to return to work in a different capacity e.g. part time or decide that they would prefer different working arrangements. You should discuss this with the Line Manager and request the preferred arrangement in writing.

In accordance with their Maternity Policy the company wherever possible should try to accommodate your request. If you have any issues you should consult your Mandate, Shop Steward.

Breastfeeding Mothers

Mothers who have given birth within previous 6 months are entitled to breastfeeding time off / breaks without loss of pay. Notification of intent to breastfeed must be given as soon as practicable or included as part of normal notification, but no less than 4 weeks before return date.

If an employee wishes to avail of this, in accordance with the company policy they should contact their Manager in order to discuss how to facilitate this request. These options may include one of the following:

1. Breastfeed in the workplace or express breast milk where facilities are provided or

2. Have their working hours reduced without loss of pay to facilitate breastfeeding where facilities are not made available, or

3. Take one hour with pay off work each day as a breastfeeding break. This time may be taken as one 60 minute break, two 30 minute breaks, or three 20 minute breaks, or alternatives by agreement (Note: this one hour break is pro-rated for individuals who work under full time hours).

Pay For Maternity Leave

Currently Dunnes Stores do not provide paid or indeed any top up in respect of maternity pay.

Union membership

As a Mandate member availing of maternity leave you are entitled to maintain your membership at a reduced rate of €1 per week (€4.33 per month or €52 per year). By keeping your membership active you still have full access to representation, information and training courses and other entitlements which are free to members.

Please contact the Mandate membership department at 018746321 or membership@mandate.ie if you wish to avail of this facility.

Last chance to complete Dunnes Stores Workers’ Survey

Almost 1,300 Dunnes Stores workers have completed the 2022 Dunnes Workers’ Survey with just over one week until it closes.

The Dunnes National Committee is calling on all Dunnes workers who haven’t completed it to do so as a matter of urgency:

“We need to produce a pay and benefits claim that’s reflective of what our members in Dunnes Stores want,” said Cathy from Dunnes Stores in Dundalk. “If we are to do that, we need to hear from as many Dunnes workers as possible.”

Members of the Dunnes National Committee encourage all Dunnes workers to complete the survey

Alex, another Dunnes worker from Dublin said:

“1,300 completed surveys will obviously help us to determine what the key issues are for Dunnes workers, but the company employs almost 10,000 staff. We don’t want any gaps and it’s really important that young workers in particular fill this survey in.”

The Survey will close on Saturday, 4th June and anyone who hasn’t already completed it can do so by clicking here.

Advice for Mandate members on grievances, complaints, investigations and disciplinaries

Grievance or Complaint

Advice for Dunnes Stores members if raising a grievance or making a complaint at work:

  • Ensure that the grievance has been lodged in writing to management and keep a copy for your own records.
  • Make sure to ask questions and know the facts before meeting management.
  • Always ensure that a copy of the Dunnes Stores Grievance Procedure is to hand.
  • Collect any paperwork or agreements relating to the issue.
  • Advise members not to attend a meeting alone, bring your shop-steward or a colleague you trust.
  • Always record the date, the venue, who was present, the time that the meeting started and the time it finished, what was discussed and what the outcome was.
  • If you need to take a break request this, if this is refused note the refusal.
  • Keep information that is disclosed confidential.
  • Keep your Mandate Official updated on any developments. Always Keep any records you have in a safe secure place.

Investigation/Disciplinary Meetings

What to do if you are notified that you are to attend a meeting with your employer:

  • Always find out what the meeting is about.
  • ls it an Investigatory or a Disciplinary Meeting?
  • Make sure you have a Shop Steward or a Witness with you.
  • If there is no one available try to have the meeting rescheduled.
  • Make sure you have a colleague/witness that will take notes of the meeting (in a third-party case these notes are equally as relevant as managements notes)
  • Make sure you understand exactly what allegations are being made or what is being investigated before giving any response.
  • Request copies of any statements or other evidence (e.g., CCTV) that the company are relying on.
  • Request a copy of the company policy and the relevant section the company are referring to.
  • Request a copy of all the notes the company have taken at a meeting.

If as a result of an investigation meeting you are then invited to attend a disciplinary hearing all of the above will apply.

Make sure your Union Official is made aware of the meeting and the outcome.

Remember It is important to use the internal appeal process following the outcome of the Disciplinary hearing if you are not satisfied with the outcome, or feel the sanction is unfair or too severe.

Your Mandate Official will advise on Third Party Referral should this avenue be available and beneficial to the member.

Mandate contact details are available here.

Dunnes Worker’s National Survey 2022 launched today

The Dunnes Stores National Committee has launched a Pay & Benefits survey for all Dunnes Stores workers which can be completed by clicking here.

The survey will be open for six weeks and will help develop a pay and benefits claim that will improve living standards for members of Mandate Trade Union working in Dunnes.

Issues in the survey include:

  • Pay
  • Allocation of hours
  • Rostering
  • Staffing levels
  • Dignity and respect; and,
  • Identifying what your priorities are for the year ahead.

Cathy, a Dunnes worker from Dundalk, Co. Louth and member of the Dunnes National Committee said:

“The Dunnes National Committee want to hear from Dunnes workers all across the country and together we want to formulate a campaign for improvements to our working lives. We need as many people to complete the survey as possible so we have a better understanding of the issues Dunnes workers are facing right now.”

She added, “We’re asking all shop stewards and activists to circulate the survey in WhatsApp groups, social media groups and wherever else they can get it to Dunnes workers.”

Patrick, Dunnes worker from Ballina, Co. Mayo concluded: “Last year Dunnes workers came together and formulated a campaign to make the 10% Covid Premium permanent and to continue the 20% staff discount. We won. We want to build on that so please complete this survey and join our campaign.”

You can follow the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign on social media at these links – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Dunnes worker survey to be launched in coming weeks

The Dunnes Stores National Committee will be launching our Pay & Benefits survey for Dunnes members in the coming weeks.

The survey will be open for six weeks and will help your National Committee to develop a pay and benefits claim that will improve living standards for members of Mandate Trade Union working in Dunnes.

Included in the survey will be issues including: pay; allocation of hours; rostering; staffing levels; dignity and respect; and, crucially, identifying what your priorities are for the year ahead.

Alex, a Dunnes worker from Dublin and member of the Dunnes National Committee said:

“It’s vitally important that everyone working in Dunnes fills in this survey. It will help us to identify the issues that are most important to Dunnes workers and will enable us to construct a pay and benefits claim along with a national campaign to achieve our goals within the company.”

He added, “We’re asking all shop stewards and activists to ensure the survey is circulated in WhatsApp groups, social media groups and wherever else they can get it to Dunnes workers.”

The survey will be issued to all Dunnes workers through text message, email and on social media.

You can follow the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign on social media at these links – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Banded Hours Update

Mandate Trade Union has been made aware that some employers are refusing to process Banded Hour Contract requests citing that they only happen at a particular time of the year.

This is not true!

All workers who are not covered by a collective agreement governing “Banded Hours”, which includes Dunnes Stores workers, are entitled to lodge a claim for secure hours provided they have more than 12 months service and have not lodged a claim in the previous 12 months.

If you lodged a claim for a new secure hour contract in February 2021, for instance, you are entitled to lodge a claim now, or at any point in the future. That may mean lodging it in June, if you so wish, or else November. There is no restriction on when you can lodge it.

Applying for a Banded Hour Contract

  • Where an employee’s contract of employment does not reflect the number of hours worked per week, the employee is entitled to be placed in the appropriate band of weekly working hours.
  • The appropriate band is determined having regard to the average number of hours worked by the employee in the relevant 12 month reference period. This number of hours does not include annual leave.
  • An employee who believes that they should be placed in a band of weekly working hours must make a written request to their employer.
BandFromTo
A3 hours6 hours
B6 hours11 hours
C11 hours16 hours
D16 hours21 hours
E21 hours26 hours
F26 hours31 hours
G31 hours36 hours
H36 hours and over

Implementation

  • Refusals may be granted under certain circumstances.
  • However, where an employee’s request is granted, they must be placed in the appropriate band within 4 weeks of the date of the request.
  • An employee who is placed in a band of weekly working hours must work the average hours for that band for a period of at least twelve months.

Penalisation

  • An employer must not penalise or threaten to penalise an employee (changes in hours, demotion, transfer of duties, change of location, reduction in wages, etc)
  • The maximum award that can be made in respect of an act of penalisation is an amount equivalent up to four weeks’ remuneration for the employee concerned.
  • If an employee successfully claims penalisation under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, the maximum award is two years’ remuneration.

Compliance

  • Where an employee believes their employer has failed to place them in the appropriate band of weekly working hours, the employee may make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission through their Union.
  • A decision of an adjudication officer can require the employer to comply with this section and place the employee on the appropriate band of hours.

Appeals & Enforcement

  • If the employer does not appeal the adjudication officer’s decision, an application can be made to the District Court for enforcement.
  • Either party may appeal a decision of an adjudication officer to the Labour Court.
  • A decision of the Labour Court shall affirm, vary or set aside the decision of the adjudication officer.
  • If the Labour Court affirms the adjudication officer’s decision but the company refuses to implement the changes, an application can be made to the District Court for enforcement.

For more information on banded hours click here.

Congratulations to all Dunnes activists for 10% win

The Dunnes Stores National Committee wishes to thank all members and activists who engaged in the successful campaign to consolidate the temporary 10% Covid premium into pay and ensure the continuation of our 20% staff discount.

The victory was announced just before Christmas after almost two years of campaigning.

Thousands of Dunnes members signed petitions, engaged in surveys and some even protested outside of Head Office. Dunnes Stores customers even launched their own petition and helped produce a video showing their appreciation to the staff.

All of these activities helped us to achieve our goal of a significant pay increase and fair staff discount for all Dunnes workers. Now, in order to maintain these benefits, and importantly, to improve on them, we need every worker in Dunnes to join our campaign and join our Union.

If you know anyone in your store who is not a member of Mandate, ask them to join today by clicking here.

Together we are stronger.

Dunnes Stores National Committee thank public and politicians for helping to secure pay increase

The Dunnes Stores National Committee consisting of Mandate shop stewards from across the country have thanked the public and some politicians for their support in obtaining a 10% pay increase and 20% staff discount.

The workers celebrated their victory in December 2021 but say this win wouldn’t have been possible without the backing of their colleagues, as well as the Dunnes Stores customers.

Cathy McLoughlin from Dunnes Stores in Dundalk said: “We’re so grateful to everyone who backed us. Dunnes don’t negotiate with our union, Mandate, so we have to put pressure on them in a variety of different ways. That’s why our customer petition and the support our customer showed in videos was so important.”

Padraig O’Reilly from Dunnes Stores in Clonakilty added: “We asked every TD in the country to sign the petition and told them we’d be letting all of our 10,000 colleagues know who stood with us and who didn’t. That’s why we’re publishing the list today. You can read that list in full by clicking here.

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