Dunnes Update Circular

Labour Court Hearing Date:  Tuesday 9th May 2017

We have received confirmation from the Labour Court that the next hearing regarding our claim for greater certainty of weekly working hours for our members in Dunnes will take place on Tuesday 9th May 2017.

Regrettably it has taken much longer than we anticipated to progress matters at the Labour Court however bear in mind that the legislation we are taking the case under is very new and the matters we are addressing are complex in nature. Notwithstanding this reality don’t forget that the legislation in question would not exist and only came into force because it was won by you and your fellow members following the last one day dispute that formed part of our ongoing Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign.

Your Union is as committed as ever to bring about an end to the unjust practice of insecure hour contracts, something we believe more than ever has no place in Ireland’s leading and most successful retailer (see Kantar trading figures below).  By standing together and speaking with one strong determined voice we can and will achieve this key objective of our Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign.

Legislative Updates

As you are already aware, after Dunnes Stores members took industrial action in 2015, the Irish government implemented the Industrial Relations Amendment Act 2015. Your Union has followed this up with further lobbying in relation to ensuring workers have security over their hours at work. This has resulted in three separate pieces of legislation proceeding through the Oireachtas.

Firstly, Sinn Fein tabled the Banded Hours Contracts Bill in July 2016. This passed through the first stage in the Dail.  However, Fianna Fail made an amendment preventing the Bill from proceeding to the next stage of the legislative process for 12 months – this means it can proceed in a number of months if the government allows it to. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs is currently discussing this legislation and we have been invited to present to the Committee on behalf of Dunnes Stores members.

Secondly, in September 2016 the Labour Party brought forward the Uncertain Hours Bill and again it passed the first stage in the Dail.  This Bill would allow certainty of earnings and also prevent victimisation of workers for enforcing their rights through their trade union.  This Bill is awaiting the next stage. 

Finally, a third initiative is about to be presented to the Government which also attempts to address zero hour contracts, low hour contracts and related matters.   Your Union will continue to work to positively influence this and the other political initiatives outlined above as they progress.

Dunnes Stores holding top spot as Ireland’s largest grocer

According to the latest supermarket share figures from Kantar Worldpanel in Ireland, for the first time ever Dunnes Stores has taken over the top spot as Ireland’s largest grocer for two consecutive months.  Dunnes now have a 22.9% share of the market. It is not unreasonable to expect that the business shares this considerable financial success with its workers at every available opportunity. 

Why the Tesco dispute is important to all retail workers

Tesco Ballyfermot picket (left) Mandate member from Dunnes Northside, Dave Campbell, showing support to the Tesco workers (right)

Thanks to all the Dunnes members who demonstrated their support and solidarity to their fellow Mandate members in Tesco during the recent strike 

You all are most likely aware of the recent strike and the ongoing dispute of your fellow Mandate members in Tesco.  Last year, Tesco Ireland’s management decided to attempt to fundamentally alter the terms and conditions of a small group of workers with over 21 years of loyal service to their company without meaningful engagement or agreement.  As a result of extreme pressure being brought to bear by management a large number of these workers decided to leave the business notwithstanding the fact that the Company by reference to a sound business case never justified the changes to their contracts of employment. 

For those members who decided to stand and fight Tesco’s actions eventually forced these workers and their colleagues in the stores affected to defend themselves and engage in industrial action in mid-February.  The strike was suspended after 12 days to allow for talks between Mandate and Tesco management at the Labour Court.  These discussions are ongoing.   

Be under no illusion the dispute in Tesco is one that has the potential to affect the entire retail sector.  You can be sure that all the other major retailers including Dunnes are waiting and watching with baited breath to see the outcome.  If Tesco get away with changing contracts of employment without agreement, no worker will be safe.

Your Union remains committed to find an agreed solution to the Tesco dispute and will always fight to ensure that no employer will ever be allowed change the established negotiated terms and conditions of employment of any of our members without their consent.   However, to do so successfully we must remain strong and united as a Union in all of our workplaces.   

Become more active in your Union

Mandate Shop Stewards, house committees and other active members play a central part in your Union in Dunnes.  Training and support is provided to anyone who takes up these important roles.  If you would be interested in taking up a more active role within the Union in your store please click the link below.