5,000 Protest at Dunnes Head Office

More than 5,000 people came out to show their support for the Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign at the head office of Dunnes Stores in Dublin on Saturday the 6th of June. This powerful national demonstration of solidarity was a clear sign of the overwhelming level of public support and recognition you and your campaign has built across the country.

Trade union members across Ireland and beyond mobilised strong support. They recognise the courage shown by Mandate members in Dunnes. They understand that you’ve taken significant risks in fighting on the front lines not only for yourselves and your families, but for all other workers who are seeking a living wage, greater security of hours and union representation now and in the future. The campaign continues to highlight the insecure employment conditions in Dunnes Stores and in other sectors nationally.

The clear message to the owners of Dunnes from the demonstration is that the Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign continues and is stronger than ever. Despite Dunnes acts of retribution after the April 2nd strike and their recent concessions on our 3% pay claim and improvements in advance rostering, we are not backing down.

Dunnes owners continue to overlook the core issues of security of hours and rights of representation that we have raised throughout the campaign. Dunnes generates up to €350 million in profit annually and according to a recent Sunday Times rich list the owners of Dunnes have accumulated an estimated €1.78 billion in wealth. This is clearly not about the inability of Dunnes to treat their workers fairly, it’s about their unwillingness to do so.

The strong message to politicians is that we can’t wait any longer for legislation on collective bargaining. As one of your fellow Mandate members exclaimed from the platform at the demonstration, “If Margaret Heffernan won’t change, then we’ll change the world around Margaret Heffernan.”

Here you will find an article written by the Minister for Business and Employment Ged Nash that was published in a national newspaper on the day of the Dunnes demonstration.  In it he recognises the struggle of Dunnes workers and reaffirms the commitment by government to enact collective bargaining legislation by mid-July. Such legislation will provide a way for us to bring our core issues with Dunnes to the Labour Court and importantly that such decisions will be legally enforceable. The legislation is also meant to include strong anti-victimisation provisions to protect workers pursuing their rights. The legislation has started to make its way through the Dáil.  We will be continuing to maintain political pressure and to actively monitor any developments.

A lot has been accomplished in our campaign so far on many different levels, but we all know there is much more to be done. We will be convening a meeting of the Dunnes National Dispute Committee in the coming weeks to consider legislative and other developments and will keep you fully informed on the next actions forward in our ongoing campaign.

Yours in Solidarity,

Gerry Light

Assistant General Secretary

Mandate Trade Union