Historic Banded Hour Contracts Bill passes to next stage in Dail

Dunnes Stores workers help to secure Banded Hour Contracts Bill 2016

A letter from the Assistant General to all Dunnes Stores workers

Dear Dunnes Stores members,

As you may already be aware, a vote took place today (Thursday, 7th July 2016) in Dail Eireann on the Banded Hours Contract Bill 2016. This Bill would provide workers with security over their hours and incomes by affording workers a contract of employment that reflects the hours they actually work. It would also facilitate workers to seek more hours should they become available.

The Bill has its foundations in last year’s vitally important Dunnes Stores strike where 6,000 of you and your colleagues took the courageous and difficult decision to go on strike in pursuit of decency at work. Your action was supported by almost all politicians in the country with representatives from all political parties attending the picket lines.

Today the commitment from those political parties was tested.

We are happy to announce that the Bill has passed and will now enter into the pre-legislative scrutiny phase. However, unfortunately a last minute and unexpected amendment was made by Fianna Fail which has the unfortunate effect of delaying the implementation by at least one year. Your union feels strongly this amendment was unnecessary and we have written to Micheal Martin stating that his party’s actions are a betrayal of low paid retail workers and their dependents. Well done to all Mandate Trade Union members who contacted Fianna Fail and other TD’s over the last number of days in relation to this issue.

Notwithstanding this 12 month set-back, real progress is being made on the issue of decency at work and tackling low and zero hour contracts and that would not be possible without you and your fellow union members.

Mandate Trade Union has been lobbying for the development and passing of this Bill for more than 12 months now, and along with the introduction of the Industrial Relations Amendment Act (2015), it proves that through working together we are making changes that have the real potential to make a positive difference to all workers in Ireland.

It is important that over the coming weeks and months we all continue to lobby all political parties so that this Bill is legislated for without any further delays. It is your Union’s position that every day this Bill is not in place is a day when workers can be exploited by unscrupulous employers.

It is very rare what happened in the Dail today in that all political parties decided to support, albeit an amended version, a Bill which has the potential to assist low paid workers in their pursuit of better and more secure pay. If some of them did this on the mischievous presumption that this Government will fall before the Bill is passed into law they are seriously misjudging the commitment and resolve of your union to hold them to their promises at every opportunity right through the lifetime of the current Dail and up to the next general election if necessary.

Together we have created real momentum around this issue and we will not give up until we have collectively achieved secure hours and certainty of earnings so that all workers can lead dignified lives.

In solidarity,

Gerry Light

Mandate Assistant General Secretary