A big week for the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign

The front page of yesterday’s (Sunday, 8th May 2017) Sunday Business Post was dominated by a headline stating “Dunnes Stores to be hit in workers’ rights crackdown.” The subheadings continued:

  • “New law means workers will be legally entitled to new agreements
  • Majority of Dunnes Stores’ 10,000 staff are on 15 hour contracts”

Over the last two years, the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign has been lobbying all politicians from all parties to support the Dunnes Stores workers and legislate to allow them to have certainty over the hours they work.

Subsequently, there are now three pieces of legislation progressing through the Oireachtas which, if implemented properly, would have the capacity to address the insecurity over weekly hours faced by a large proportion of Dunnes workers.

  • Sinn Fein put forward the Banded Hours Contracts Bill 2016 in July last year which passed second stage in the Dail and is now at a consultation phase in the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Unfortunately this Bill cannot pass any further stages due to an amendment submitted by Fianna Fail preventing the Bill from progressing for 12 months.
  • The Labour Party submitted the Protection of Employment (Uncertain Hours Bill) 2016 which passed unanimously through the Seanad last November. This Bill has not progressed any further at this stage.
  • Last week the Government published details of a Bill they intend passing which would address some of the issues Dunnes workers face but the Bill has several flaws and Mandate intends to lobby for amendments to better address the key issues affecting Dunnes workers.

In the meantime, while waiting for these Bills to pass through the Oireachtas, Mandate has proceeded with a case on behalf of Dunnes workers to the Labour Court under the Industrial (Amendment) Act 2015 to address the insecurity over weekly hours at work. That case is to be heard before the Labour Court tomorrow (Tuesday, 9th May 2017).

This case comes following the Dunnes Stores strike in April 2015 when the government of the day promised to bring in ‘collective bargaining’ legislation in order to help Dunnes workers achieve certainty of hours and earnings. Mandate has already progressed through the preliminary hearing and the full case will now be heard by the Labour Court.

The action taken by Dunnes workers on 2nd April 2015 led to these pieces of legislation being developed, and while they haven’t passed just yet, there is now no doubt that there will be stronger protections for all workers in Ireland as a result.

There will be more updates later this week and as these pieces of legislation progress through the Oireachtas.

View the Decency for Dunnes Workers coverage in the Sunday Business Post by clicking the link below:

Dunnes Coverage