Dunnes Stores workers commence ballot for industrial action today

secret.ballotWorkers left with no alternative but to vote for strike action

More than 5,000 Mandate Trade Union members in Dunnes Stores will commence a ballot for industrial action today (Wednesday, 11 February 2015) after the company refused to accept a recent Labour Court Recommendation.

The Labour Court’s Recommendation said the company have an obligation to sit down with the Union to discuss all of the issues currently in dispute including:

  • The implementation of banded hour contracts which would give workers security of hours and earnings;
  • Individual and collective representational rights for Dunnes workers;
  • A review of Dunnes’ excessive use of temporary contracts of employment;
  • Fair pay for all workers in Dunnes Stores.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said the workers have been left with no alternative other than to vote for industrial action.

“Our members in Dunnes Stores have been put in a very difficult position by management who are refusing to abide by their own collective agreement which they freely signed up to in 1996,” Mr Light explained.

“Dunnes workers have been patient and have given their employer every opportunity to resolve their issues of concern,” he said, “but unfortunately Dunnes management continue their stubborn refusal to engage and are now ignoring the impartial Labour Court, who have issued a Recommendation stating that they should engage with their workers’ representatives,” added Mr Light.

“Unfortunately the only recourse left available to Dunnes workers at this stage is to ballot for industrial action.”

Muireann Dalton, a Dunnes worker in Newtownmountkennedy, said: “Nobody wants to go on strike and we can hardly afford to miss a day’s pay, but at some stage we have to say enough is enough and stand up for ourselves. Thousands of Dunnes workers like me have no idea how many hours we’ll get from week to week. We can’t get a mortgage or a loan because of this insecurity of hours. All we’re asking is for contracts that are already given to workers in Dunnes’ main competitor including Tesco and Penneys.”

Mr Light added: “The behaviour by Dunnes is very disappointing. They issued a letter last week saying that Dunnes Stores ‘do not engage directly with Trade Unions’ – despite having a signed agreement with Mandate. They also issued a veiled threat about industrial action resulting in ‘redundancies and layoffs’, a statement that is reprehensible considering all management need to do to prevent this action is agree to enter negotiations.”

More than 100 stores will be balloted in the coming weeks with the process ending on March 6th. All Mandate members will be given plenty of notice ahead of their own local ballot.

Mandate have issued a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) to to explain the ballot to members. You can view this here.