Dunnes workers demand secure hours and earnings at Labour Court

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“We cannot survive on these contracts, not knowing what hours we’ll have from week-to-week”, says Dunnes worker.

Dunnes refuse to turn up to Labour Court.

A delegation of Dunnes Stores workers attended a Labour Court hearing today (11:30am Wednesday, 29th October) where they put forward their case for secure hours and earnings for all workers at the Irish retail giant.

The workers, who are all members of Mandate Trade Union, attended the hearing as part of their Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign which has four key demands:

  • Decent hours and earnings;
  • Job security;
  • Fair pay; and
  • The right to trade union representation.

Dunnes employs 14,000 workers in 112 stores across Ireland.

Dunnes worker Muireann Dalton said: “Our main issue is more secure hours and earnings. Thousands of us in Dunnes don’t know how many hours we’re going to work from week to week. It could range anywhere between 15 one week and 40 hours the next. It’s virtually impossible to plan your life and pay bills and rent not knowing how much you’re going to earn one week to the next.”

She added, “All we’re asking for is a little bit of fairness.”

Former Dunnes Stores worker, now Mandate Trade Union official, Karen Wall said:

“It’s completely unfair that workers in Tesco, Penneys, Supervalu and other major retailers can avail of secure hours, but because these workers are employed by Dunnes Stores they can’t.

“A banded-hour contract would provide workers with secure hours but still allows a level of flexibility for both the company and their employees. What our members in Dunnes are asking for is not unreasonable and can easily be facilitated by senior management if they just have a little bit of respect for their staff. After all, it is the workers who have helped to make Dunnes the massive success it is today.”

Commenting on the fact Dunnes management didn’t turn up to the Labour Court today, Gerry Light, Mandate Trade Union Assistant General Secretary said:

“It’s extremely disappointing they didn’t turn up to hear from their own workers today.”

He continued, “They refuse to meet with their workers’ representatives, Mandate Trade Union, and refuse to engage with the state’s industrial relations bodies, including the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) and the Labour Court. This is completely unnacceptable in 2014,” he said.

Mr Light explained that Mandate’s Dunnes Stores members were determined to be treated on an equal footing with Tesco, Penneys and Supervalu workers.

“Our members in Dunnes are only too aware of how workers in the companies main competitors are treated. They have secure hours and earnings, they have the right to individual and collective representation and they have a level of job security that is simply not afforded by Dunnes Stores management.”

He concluded: “Our attendance at the Labour Court today, where an independent body heard our members’ case, is a step on the road to achieving all of our goals within the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign.”

Mandate expects to hear a decision from the Labour Court in the coming days but has encouraged all non-members in the company to join the campaign as soon as possible.