Dunnes Stores once again show contempt for their workers

Industrial action may now be unavoidable

Mandate Trade Union has today (Monday, 1st December 2014) condemned Dunnes Stores for refusing to meaningfully engage with their own workers after the company wrote to the Labour Court stating that they had no intention of meeting with their workers’ representatives.

Dunnes say they will be disregarding the Labour Court’s Recommendation issued on the 14th November 2014 which said a meeting between Mandate and Dunnes should take place within a period of four weeks. The Union says this is the fourth time in as many years the company has displayed a dismissive attitude to the findings of the Labour Court and in doing so shows an entirely disrespectful attitude to its own workforce, as well as the State’s most senior industrial relations body.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said, “The letter demonstrates the arrogance and utter lack of respect senior management have for their own workers. Ultimately the next steps in our Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign will be decided by our members and we most certainly cannot rule out disruptive action in the near future.”

Mr Light explained that despite Dunnes workers raising a number of very serious concerns and requesting a meeting, the company have written to the Court saying they see “no purpose in any meeting”.

Sarah Browne who is a Dunnes worker from Dublin said, “I’m deeply disappointed that Dunnes management continue to reject the efforts of our Union and now the Labour Court to resolve our concerns. Insecurity over working hours is a major issue for almost all Dunnes staff and we need that addressed immediately. It leaves me and thousands of my fellow co-workers no other option than to now consider taking more serious action to have our concerns addressed.”

Dunnes continue to claim there are no issues in dispute but a Dunnes worker survey completed by more than 1,200 workers shows undeniably that there are major issues that Dunnes workers want resolved.

Preliminary results show more than 3 out of 4 workers are on insecure flexible hour contracts in which workers have no security in how many hours they will work, when they will work and how much they will earn each week. These contracts cause extreme hardship on Dunnes workers who, with unpredictable income and rosters, struggle to pay bills and rent and to plan things like child care from one week to the next.

Other results from the survey indicate:

  • 98% want more stable hours.
  • 85% say insecurity over hours and rostering is used as a method of control over workers.
  • 88% say that they are not treated with dignity and respect at work.
  • 98% say they want Dunnes to respect their right to trade Union representation.

Mr Light said, “The issues are undeniably clear. Our members in Dunnes Stores are clear. For management to continue insisting there is no need to engage with the union in relation to matters of concern to its members is frankly an insult to every single staff member in the company and flies in the face of the findings of the Labour Court.