Dunnes workers call for national protest march on June 6th
Dunnes Stores shop stewards from 100 stores across the Republic of Ireland met yesterday (Sunday, 26th April) to decide the next actions in the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign. The shop stewards voted unanimously for a national protest march to Dunnes Stores Head Office in Dublin which will take place on Saturday, June 6th.
The protest will be preceded by a series of local protests and actions, further details of which will be announced shortly.
The meeting also endorsed a claim for a 3 percent pay increase lodged by their union Mandate.
Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said: “This protest will be an opportunity for the public to show solidarity with the workers who are seeking secure incomes and decent conditions of employment. We expect Dunnes workers who are not rostered to work on the day to attend, and they’ll be calling on their friends and family as well as other trade unionists, politicians, community groups and members of the public to attend and show their support.”
He added: “The workers are also demanding that there are no delays in the implementation of robust collective bargaining legislation with strong anti-victimisation provisions. We believe irresponsible employers like Dunnes should be held accountable for their actions and workers in precarious employments need some avenue to have their voices heard without being forced to take industrial action.”
The shop stewards at the meeting made it clear they are reserving their right to take industrial action in the future. Furthermore, they are committed to potentially escalating the industrial action beyond a one day strike.
“Once again our members in Dunnes are acting in a very responsible manner. They are calling for this day of action because they, unlike their employer, are concerned about potential long term irreparable damage to the business. The support from the public has been tremendous and this march will give them the opportunity to show Dunnes workers that they are not on their own in this struggle.
“This course of action also ensures that low paid workers do not have to unnecessarily endure the burden of losing hard-won earnings to achieve their campaign objectives. It will also deny Dunnes management the chance to further engage in the campaign of retaliation which was carried out following the one day strike.”
Mr Light added: “We know that the Dunnes family have very deep pockets, with the Sunday Times listing them yesterday as having more than €1.7bn in combined wealth. That enormous wealth has only been derived due to the hard work of their loyal members of staff. It’s about time the company acknowledged that hard work by meaningfully engaging with their workers through their trade union.
“It is apparent that instead of fairly distributing some of this massive accumulated wealth with their workers the Dunnes owners are intent in using it in a battle of financial means with our members, many of whom are only guaranteed 15 hours work per week,” he said.
Earlier this month up to 6,000 Dunnes workers took industrial action in order to achieve basic entitlements including:
- Secure hours and earnings;
- Job security;
- Fair pay; and
- The right to trade union representation.
Further details on the national day of protest will be announced shortly.