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.