Dunnes Stores continue to snub worker’s demands


Senior management in Dunnes Stores are continuing to avoid a meeting with their workers’ union to discuss issues of concern for their workforce – say MANDATE Trade Union.

MANDATE represents more than 4,000 workers in 112 stores across the Republic of Ireland. On 1st May, MANDATE wrote to Dunnes seeking a meeting with management representatives to consider the following items which have been raised the union’s members:

  1. Introduction of sufficient weekly hour thresholds
  2. Review of the number of pay scales / pay rates currently in operation
  3. Review of the use of temporary contracts
  4. Claim for a 3% wage increase
  5. Representation rights for our members.

After Dunnes failed to respond to the union within the agreed timeframe (21 days), MANDATE were forced to write to the company Directors later that month. Following this, Dunnes wrote to the union giving no indication that they would meet stating “your letter is vague and lacking in detail”.

MANDATE’s Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said Dunnes’ response is typical and their usual tactic to avoid a meeting to hear the genuine grievances of our members in Dunnes. He warned the company that this type of tactic will not weaken the determination of our members, rather it will strengthen their collective resolve.

“I’m sure everyone would agree that sufficient information exists to allow a good faith meeting take place between Dunnes and their worker’s representatives. On more than one occasion we’ve spelled out very simply, clearly and in plain English what our member’s issues of concern are,” said Mr Light.

“Despite this” continued Mr Light, “Dunnes continue to play games which is having a very negative impact on the work life and living standards of their own workers.”

Dunnes accuse MANDATE of attempting to “generate a dispute.”

Then in early July, MANDATE wrote to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) – as per the Dunnes/MANDATE 1996 Collective Agreement – seeking a hearing to discuss the issues.

Dunnes has now written back to the LRC – again, using the same stalling tactics – and accused MANDATE of attempting “to generate a dispute…where there is no actual or bona fide dispute in place”.

MANDATE refute this allegation: “Our 4,000 members have genuine grievances that they wish to raise with their employer, yet the company won’t even sit down to listen to them.

“MANDATE is a very responsible trade union and enjoys a very good working relationship with all of Dunnes’ main competitors in the retail sector, including Marks & Spencer, Penneys, SuperValu and Tesco. If those companies can meet regularly with their workers’ union, why can’t Dunnes?” said Mr Light.

MANDATE, in consultation with their members in Dunnes, will determine the next steps for the Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign.