Mandate General Secretary writes to Dunnes owners

Dear Mrs Heffernan,

I write this letter to you today with a sense of regret, regret for things that are about to happen which are totally avoidable. This is not the first time in recent memory that Dunnes Stores workers have had to take action in order to have their voices heard. The reality is that Dunnes Stores workers only want to be heard, and in doing so have an effective process for dealing with their issues which avoids them having to take to the streets. It has never been the intention of Mandate members to cause any damage to Dunnes Stores, but faced with no alternative they are constantly forced into taking positions which ultimately lead to disruptive action.

We are fully aware of the business requirements of retailers in a difficult Irish retail market and we have been able to conclude practicable and sensible business solutions with all other major retailers which protect their business and offer fairness to their employees. Dunnes Stores should be no exception.

It is regrettable that you or your representatives are unwilling to engage directly with Mandate Trade Union or with the institutions of the State, the Labour Relations Commission or the Labour Court, to avoid disputes such as the one planned for 2 April 2015. It is my belief that as with most disputes between parties, they can only be resolved via dialogue between the parties.

Following a similar pattern, the last major national dispute was resolved by dialogue and agreement between management/unions and a national problem solving procedure was introduced for the orderly conduct of our business. This Problem/Grievance Procedure is still in place but has not functioned, primarily I have to say because of the company’s failure to engage with said procedure.

Finally, there is a better way of conducting our relationship which respects the views and ethos of each other, but it takes two parties to engage. Mandate Trade Union will continue to strive towards a better way, I respectfully urge Dunnes Stores to do the same. Yours sincerely For Mandate Trade Union

John Douglas

General Secretary