Category Archives: News

Dunnes Workers’ Labour Court Hearing Adjourned

The Labour Court yesterday (Wednesday 2nd August 2017) adjourned the Dunnes Stores workers’ Labour Court case for six months pending the introduction of new primary legislation which has the potential to address the workers’ claims.

The Court was informed that two specific pieces of legislation are progressing through the Houses of the Oireachtas which would give Dunnes Stores workers, and all other workers in Ireland, the right to secure hour contracts.

Mandate can re-enter the case at any time over the coming months should the legislation not materialise or if it doesn’t address the serious concerns of Dunnes workers.

The first of these pieces of legislation is the Banded Hour Contracts Bill 2016, which was sponsored by Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane. This Bill, if passed, would enable workers to have a contract that reflects the hours they actually work. The government are also planning to introduce legislation in September which would address the key issues contained in the Mandate v Dunnes Stores Labour Court case.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said: “It is clear to us that Dunnes Stores management plans to fight tooth and nail to prevent their workers from having security over their hours and their incomes. They have threatened to challenge the legislation we brought this case under – the Industrial Relations Amendment Act 2015 – in every possible way, simply because they don’t want Dunnes workers to have what other retail workers have, a decent, secure income.”

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Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary

He added, “It is shameful that Dunnes management would behave in this way, and in the two years since the Dunnes Stores strike, they have continued their arrogant and reprehensible treatment of their own loyal staff.”

Mr Light explained that the Union and its members would commence a campaign for the swift passing of legislation by all members of the Oireachtas.

“Our members have waited long enough,” said Mr Light. “We had TD’s from every political party down at the picket lines in 2015 promising the workers their support. The Taoiseach of the day said he believed Dunnes workers should ‘have clarity about their working lives.’ Since then, very little has happened to give Dunnes and other workers security over their incomes. This is simply not good enough.”

The Banded Hours Contracts Bill has now progressed through the Joint Oireachtas Committee but is waiting for amendments to be ratified.

Mr Light said, “If there was an appetite from Fine Gael, the Independent Alliance and Fianna Fail to sort this issue out, it could be done in September. That’s why we’re going to need all of the Dunnes workers, other Mandate members and the rest of the trade union movement to lobby these politicians and put pressure on them to pass this legislation as a matter of urgency.

More details on this campaign to follow.

Dunnes Stores pay claim

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Mandate Trade Union lodged a 3 percent pay claim for all Dunnes Stores workers in April 2017. Since then, Dunnes Stores have refused to respond to the claim. Mandate has this week referred the pay claim to the Workplace Relations Committee (WRC).

Dunnes Stores refusing to put new members onto payroll deduction

Since last October, Dunnes Stores have refused to process new members into the Union when they chose to pay Union dues through wages (deduction at source). This is in direct contravention of agreements and practices between Mandate and Dunnes Stores going back decades.

New members are encouraged to join on Mandate’s new online payment system at www.joinmandate.ie

Furthermore the company has also failed to implement last year’s subscription increase of 20 cent in Union deductions from wages.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said: “This is a deliberate attempt by Dunnes Stores to weaken your Union financially and harm our ability to effectively deal with the issues that matter to you and your fellow members both now and in the future.”

He added, “In light of this attack on your Union we have decided that all new applications for membership should be referred to our new on-line payment system.  This is a very simple method of enrolment and payment for new members.

“Perspective members can easily choose whether to pay their union subscriptions weekly or monthly with their debit or credit card.  This system will remove the need for paper application forms as all details can be provided on-line at the enrolment stage.  New members should be directed to sign up to Mandate at www.joinmandate.ie.

Organise, Organise, Organise

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If Dunnes Stores workers are to ensure that we achieve secure hour contracts and a decent living wage over the coming years, it is imperative that we continue to organise and get as many Dunnes Stores workers into our union as possible. This will enable us to lobby more effectively and prepare to take action when necessary.

Gerry Light said: “Together we have achieved a lot in recent years. Very few other workers have managed to win a 12% pay increase in four years, but that could be better if we were stronger.”

He added, “While we are developing the next steps in our Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign, which will include political lobbying and pressuring the government, it is in our own interests that we talk to the workers in our store that have not yet joined Mandate and convince them to join our campaign and our union. The path to making real progress in the workplace is for workers to use their collective power at the negotiating table, the more members we have the powerful we are.”

 

Dunnes workers’ survey launched by campaign

The Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign has launched a new survey for all workers across Dunnes in the Republic of Ireland. Since the campaign was launched in April this year, the campaign has had a number of successes in relation to pay and contracts of employment. In order to stay up to date with these developments the campaign is launching this very brief survey.

We would like to establish the conditions of employment for all different categories of workers in Dunnes but we can only do so with your help. Please take two minutes to fill in the survey. All results will be kept confidential.

Survey-Date-click-here

Victory number two for Dunnes Stores workers!

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 09.38.31The Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign has achieved a second significant win with permanent contracts being offered to temporary staff across Dunnes Stores.

This follows the concession of a 3 percent pay increase in June for all workers at the Irish retail giant – a key demand made by the campaign.

One of the four key issues in the campaign is stopping the widespread and unnecessary use of temporary and fixed-term contracts where workers initially get 2 or 3 month contracts followed by 6 month contracts. Many workers on these contracts are typically let go without explanation and are replaced by others on similar short-term contracts. Consequently, available hours are deliberately directed away from established members of staff.

Gerry Light, Mandate Trade Union Assistant General Secretary said, “Over the last two weeks, we’ve received reports from our members in Dunnes Stores across the country that store management are giving permanent contracts with a standard probation period to temporary/fixed-term staff and to any newly employed staff.”

Mr Light added, “This latest development – in addition to the 3% pay rise which was conceded by Dunnes in June – is good news and another clear sign that our campaign and the growing number of Dunnes workers joining Mandate is having an impact.”

Mr Light feels that Dunnes management are fearful of the growing momentum behind the Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign.

“Clearly Dunnes management are attempting to take the momentum out of our campaign by addressing some of our key demands. In doing this they obviously hope that non-members will see no point in joining our Union.

“Whilst this particular development is to be welcomed, it falls far short of addressing the priority issues of security of weekly hours and earnings for those on flexi-hour contracts (through banded hour arrangements) and the right of representation,” said Mr Light.

“Mandate Trade Union would like to congratulate all of those who have been active in the campaign so far for achieving these significant victories. However, it is important that all members speak to non-members and explain the positive changes that we have already won – and from which they most likely have benefited. It’s vitally important that all Dunnes Stores workers continue to join Mandate so that we are stronger in addressing the key demands that remain.”

Mr Light concluded by saying this outcome is a significant win for all temporary and fixed term workers across the country.

“Dunnes Stores is one of the largest private sector employers in Ireland. As such, they have an enormous effect on employment standards in the retail sector and other sectors of the economy.

“At a time when precarious employment and insecure work is growing, such a significant win for Dunnes workers has the potential to send reverberations across other workplaces. It’s clear that these workers have only achieved such a positive breakthrough by joining their union and getting active in it. This is certainly a blueprint for other workers out there in low paid and insecure jobs.”
NOTE
Dunnes Stores employs more than 10,000 workers in the Republic of Ireland in 116 stores.
The issue of temporary and fixed term contracts for Dunnes workers forms part of a comprehensive claim by Mandate Trade Union as part of its Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign, launched in April 2014. That full claim includes:

  • The introduction of banded hour contracts;
  • A review of pay scales and pay rates currently in operation in the business;
  • A review of temporary contracts that are being over utilised;
  • A claim for a 3% pay increase
  • The right to representation for Mandate members in Dunnes Stores.

You can follow the Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign Facebook Page by clicking here.

Dunnes Stores continue to snub worker’s demands

 

Senior management in Dunnes Stores are continuing to avoid a meeting with their workers’ union to discuss issues of concern for their workforce – say MANDATE Trade Union.

MANDATE represents more than 4,000 workers in 112 stores across the Republic of Ireland. On 1st May, MANDATE wrote to Dunnes seeking a meeting with management representatives to consider the following items which have been raised the union’s members:

  1. Introduction of sufficient weekly hour thresholds
  2. Review of the number of pay scales / pay rates currently in operation
  3. Review of the use of temporary contracts
  4. Claim for a 3% wage increase
  5. Representation rights for our members.

After Dunnes failed to respond to the union within the agreed timeframe (21 days), MANDATE were forced to write to the company Directors later that month. Following this, Dunnes wrote to the union giving no indication that they would meet stating “your letter is vague and lacking in detail”.

MANDATE’s Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said Dunnes’ response is typical and their usual tactic to avoid a meeting to hear the genuine grievances of our members in Dunnes. He warned the company that this type of tactic will not weaken the determination of our members, rather it will strengthen their collective resolve.

“I’m sure everyone would agree that sufficient information exists to allow a good faith meeting take place between Dunnes and their worker’s representatives. On more than one occasion we’ve spelled out very simply, clearly and in plain English what our member’s issues of concern are,” said Mr Light.

“Despite this” continued Mr Light, “Dunnes continue to play games which is having a very negative impact on the work life and living standards of their own workers.”

Dunnes accuse MANDATE of attempting to “generate a dispute.”

Then in early July, MANDATE wrote to the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) – as per the Dunnes/MANDATE 1996 Collective Agreement – seeking a hearing to discuss the issues.

Dunnes has now written back to the LRC – again, using the same stalling tactics – and accused MANDATE of attempting “to generate a dispute…where there is no actual or bona fide dispute in place”.

MANDATE refute this allegation: “Our 4,000 members have genuine grievances that they wish to raise with their employer, yet the company won’t even sit down to listen to them.

“MANDATE is a very responsible trade union and enjoys a very good working relationship with all of Dunnes’ main competitors in the retail sector, including Marks & Spencer, Penneys, SuperValu and Tesco. If those companies can meet regularly with their workers’ union, why can’t Dunnes?” said Mr Light.

MANDATE, in consultation with their members in Dunnes, will determine the next steps for the Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign.

Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign “growing by the day”

The Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign is “growing by the day” according to Mandate’s Lead Organiser Bill Abom.

The union has been hosting local meeting across the country in recent weeks which have been attended by hundreds of activists, members and non-members alike and Mr Abom says there’s clearly an appetite to achieve real and permanent change in Dunnes Stores.

He explained that Dunnes workers are joining their union in record numbers as the campaign develops.

“At all of our meetings across the country we’ve had more and more people joining Mandate. We’ve also seen a huge amount of members joining online. It’s clear that Dunnes workers recognise the benefits of being in a union.

“When Dunnes staff see the terms and conditions of workers in Dunnes’ main competitors – including banded hour contracts and a right to representation – they know they can only achieve similar terms by standing together as a collective.”

Mandate launched the campaign in April of this year with very clear goals:

  • Decent hours and earnings – including banded hour contracts;
  • Job security – to combat the widespread use of fixed term contracts and job insecurity;
  • Fair pay – a three percent pay increase and transparent pay scales; and
  • A right to representation and dignity at work.

In July, Dunnes announced a three percent pay increase, the first success of the campaign. Mr Abom said, “While we welcomed the announcement of a three percent pay increase for all Dunnes workers, this was only one part of our campaign.

“What we’re hearing from workers on the ground is that security of hours and earnings, along with job security and a right to representation, are what our members in Dunnes really want,” said Mr Abom.

Mr Abom concluded by encouraging all Dunnes workers to promote the campaign website – www.dunnesworkers.com – and to get active in their campaign.

Congratulations to all Dunnes workers

Gerry Light launching the Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign

Gerry Light launching the Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign

Well done to all Dunnes Stores workers for achieving the first win of our Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign.

Yesterday Dunnes Stores management announced a 3% pay increase, a concession that formed one part of our claim.

Obviously Dunnes Stores has been paying attention to the growing momentum in our campaign and this pay increase goes some of the way towards achieving our overall objectives.

We must now build on this victory!

Across the country, Dunnes workers have been attending meetings and driving our campaign. It is because of your activism and due to your efforts to organise your fellow workers that Dunnes management have given in to one of your first demands. We must now ensure that we achieve the rest of them, including:

  • The introduction of banded hour contracts which will ensure security of hours and earnings;
  • A review of pay scales and pay rates currently in operation in the business;
  • A review of temporary contracts that are being over utilised;
  • The right to representation for Mandate members in Dunnes Stores.

This is your victory

Dunnes Stores workers have won this victory by getting organised and mobilizing within their workplace. The only way in which workers achieve significant change and improve conditions of employment is by standing together within your union.

While this victory is to be celebrated, we must not ease up on efforts to achieve all of our demands. Remember, we’re stronger together.

Read a statement from Mandate issued today in response to Dunnes Stores management’s announcements by clicking here.

In solidarity,
Gerry Light

Mandate Assistant General Secretary

Union steps up pressure on Dunnes Stores

Dunnes Campaign LaunchAs part of its “Decency for Dunnes Workers” campaign Mandate Trade Union has today (Friday, 23 May 2014) written directly to Dunnes Stores owners Margaret Heffernan and Frank Dunne seeking their intervention after the company’s management team refused to respond to a letter from the workers’ union.

Last month, Mandate wrote to Dunnes Stores management seeking to engage on a number of issues identified by workers including:

  • Decent hours and earnings;
  • Job security;
  • Fair pay; and
  • The right to trade union representation.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said he was “disappointed in the failure of the company to respond within the required 21 days which is part of the agreed procedures between the company and the union.”

Mr Light added, “Ignoring the issues in this way will not make them go away, rather it will strengthen the resolve of our members working in Dunnes to have them dealt with.

“It is regrettable that an Irish retail business of the size and reputation of Dunnes Stores have behaved in this way and are refusing to engage on core workplace issues that affect the living standards of their loyal workers who have helped to make the company as successful as it is today.”

Mr Light said workers in Dunnes’ major competitors had access to full trade union representation and all that Dunnes workers want is for that same right to be applied to them.

“Our members in Dunnes have been very reasonable over the past number of years but their patience is wearing out. If Tesco and Penneys workers can avail of their right to representation and can secure decent working conditions, then that right should be afforded to Dunnes workers too.”