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Mandate condemn Dunnes Stores for refusing pay increase despite being number one retailer

Majority of Dunnes members endorse pay claim

Mandate Trade Union has condemned Dunnes Stores management for refusing a cost of living pay increase for its 10,000 workers despite the company retaining top retailer spot in Ireland with more than 22% of market share and an increase of 3.3% in sales.

Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light has written to the company on behalf of members stating: “It is remarkable, as we head into the busiest trading period of the year that no provision has been made for a cost of living pay increase for our members employed in Dunnes. This is despite the fact that many of your main competitors have awarded their staff such an increase.”

He continued: “We are calling on the company, short of addressing all parts of our current pay and benefits claim, to implement an immediate and appropriate pay increase for the thousands of Mandate members employed in the business.”

Mandate lodged a pay and benefits claim with Dunnes Stores in August which included a new and improved pay scale, increased annual leave, more full time jobs and better and fairer scheduling. Mandate members working in Dunnes Stores are also seeking the right to be represented by their trade union which is currently denied by their employer.

Mr Light said: “The majority of all Dunnes Stores members have signed an endorsement of the claim which would provide decent jobs and improved living standards for all Dunnes staff. This clearly shows the claim is emphatically backed by workers. What we need now is action from the company.”

He added, “This is the time of year where our members are under more pressure, both in work, and in relation to their incomes. They are expected to work longer hours serving more customers and yet they are expected to do this on the same relatively low rates of pay while providing for their families.

“Everyone knows the cost of living has increased significantly with rent and house price rises, insurance costs increasing and food bills going up. Our members in other major retailers have received cost of living pay increases, so we’re demanding that Dunnes Stores management do the right thing and implement a pay increase to help their workers through this difficult time,” concluded Mr Light.

You can view the letter from Gerry Light to Dunnes Stores by clicking the below link.

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Mandate lodge Dunnes Stores pay claim as campaign for fair pay and conditions continues

Mandate Trade Union has lodged a pay claim for 2019 with Dunnes Stores seeking: a fair pay increase for all workers in the company; new equal pay scale which would enable all workers to achieve the top point; more full time jobs; fairer scheduling and most importantly, a right to trade union representation for individual and collective purposes.

Dunnes Stores are notoriously anti-trade union so it is unlikely that the claim will be achieved in full without an intensive campaign which is supported by all Dunnes workers across the country.

Through Shopfloor, Mandate is launching an endorsement facility where Dunnes workers can express their support for the campaign. This can be accessed at (www.tinyurl.com/dunnes2019).

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Is this claim achievable?

Mandate has lodged a similar claim with Tesco Ireland. Pay equality has proven to be a major issue for many Dunnes members and with the new Living Wage declared at €12.30ph, this is the starting point for the proposed pay scale with rewards for long service. These conditions of employment are the minimum a worker should expect when working for a highly profitable retail employer in Ireland.

Dunnes Stores do not publish their profits in Ireland. However, from extrapolating data from Eurostat and the CSO we can estimate that Dunnes are generating more than €200 million in profit every year. If Dunnes workers were to successfully achieve this claim it would mean Dunnes owners would have to share approximately 15-20% of their annual profits with their workers. It is Dunnes Stores workers who generate the profits for the company so it is only right that those very workers should be rewarded appropriately.

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Where did this claim come from?

Mandate Trade Union has conducted several surveys of Dunnes Stores workers. Through those surveys, and through discussions with members and activists, we have developed this claim, which was amended and sanctioned at the National Dunnes Committee meeting on Wednesday, 10th July.

What next?

The next steps in our campaign for decent jobs in Dunnes Stores is for all Dunnes workers to engage with the campaign. All Dunnes workers need to sign the endorsement of this claim and be prepared to mobilise others to support it. Look out for local meetings which will be taking place across the country over the next few weeks to further explain and gather support for the campaign.

Update on Banded Hours applications

12th June 2019

To: All Dunnes Stores Members

From: Gerry Light, Assistant General Secretary

Re: Update regarding banded hours

As you are aware over 1,500 fellow members in Dunnes Stores submitted requests to the Company to be placed on a band of weekly working hours. In the main, feedback has been generally positive with many members being placed properly on a weekly band of hours however there are a number of issues that remain and the primary ones are outlined below.

It is important to note that many members have been raising grievances regarding their banded hour requests with the guidance of their shop stewards & Union officials to both local store management and to Dunnes head office and in most cases have managed to get issues resolved. Therefore, if you have a query and/or an unresolved issue regarding your banded hour request don’t hesitate to contact your shop steward or local Mandate office.

  1. Members claim they are being prohibited from being offered additional weekly hours

It appears that some members continue to be told by local store management that as a consequence of being placed on a band of weekly hours they will never be offered additional hours in excess of the top point of their band. Furthermore, they are being told that when such hours become available they will be offered to staff who have not made a request for a weekly band of hours. Your union firmly believes this type of action by store management could amount to penalisation which is strictly prohibited in the legislation and we will support any member who wishes to make a claim against this type of treatment. The union has also written to Dunnes Head of HR, Sandra Buckley, regarding this situation. (Copy of Letter here)  

  1. My paid working hours are less than my agreed band

In some instances members have claimed that their working hours, that is the actual hours they are paid for, are falling below the weekly hourly band which was agreed. In some cases local store management are claiming that they are including the break time towards the weekly hourly band. This should not happen. The legislation stipulates that weekly bands cover the ‘working’ hours which is not break time. If you have encountered this situation don’t hesitate to contact your shop steward or local Mandate office for assistance.

  1. The band of weekly hours calculated appears to have been calculated incorrectly  

If you believe that the band of hours that has been calculated by the company is incorrect, you can still request details as to how your figures were arrived at even if you initially agreed to your current band. It is good to have a clear calculation of your own weekly hours average during the previous 12 months from the date your request was submitted. If you need guidance in how to do this and how to raise a grievance please contact your shop steward or local Mandate office.

  1. I still do not have written confirmation of my new weekly band of hours

Once your band of hours is agreed and accepted by you, you are entitled to receive a written statement which confirms or reflects your new band of weekly working hours. This is normally in the form of letter or a statement from the company confirming the amendment of your working hours to your terms of employment. The company must confirm the change in writing within one month. If you still do not receive written confirmation contact your Mandate office for assistance.

Dunnes workers’ Banded Hours Update – your questions answered

15th April 2019

To: All Dunnes Stores Members

From: Gerry Light, Assistant General Secretary

Re: Banded Hours Requests

Since we submitted over 1,500 individual requests to the Company for banded hour adjustments Dunnes members have been receiving confirmation back from management. There are a number of concerns that have been raised by members which we would like to help address below. If you have any additional queries please do not hesitate to contact your shop steward or local Mandate office.

  1. Band of weekly hours calculated appears to be incorrect

If you believe that the band of hours that has been calculated by the company is incorrect, you should request details as to how the figures were arrived at and if you are still not happy you should request a review. In preparation you should gather your payslips from the previous 12 months from the date your request was submitted and calculate your own weekly hours average. Please note that any weeks over the previous 12 months that you did not work, for example time on annual leave, out sick, or on maternity should not form part of calculating your average. Your employer should only be averaging the weeks that you actually worked. You should present your calculation to the store or HR manager and formally ask that your weekly band calculation be amended accordingly. If you are unable to resolve the matter at store level, a written grievance can be submitted to Dunnes head office for the attention of Ms Sandra Buckley with your calculations. Make sure to keep copies of your correspondence. If the matter is not resolved at that stage contact your local Mandate office as the matter may need to be referred to the Workplace Relations Commission. If you have any queries and need assistance contact your shop steward or local Mandate office.    

  1. Getting written confirmation of my new weekly band of hours

Once your band of hours is agreed and accepted by you, you are entitled to receive a written statement which confirms or reflects your new band of weekly working hours. This is normally in the form of letter or a statement from the company confirming the amendment of your working hours to your terms of employment. The company must confirm the change in writing within one month. If you do not receive written confirmation you should request it from your manager or write to head office requesting it. If you still do not receive written confirmation you can contact your Mandate office for assistance.

  1. Am I entitled to work above my weekly band of hours?

In many locations it has been stated by management that once you are placed on a weekly band of hours that you will no longer be entitled to work hours above your band. This is not the case. There is nothing in the new legislation that would prevent you from working additional hours above your band should you agree. It is our experience in companies that have been using banded hour agreements for many years, that when additional shifts or hours become available they are normally offered and covered by existing staff. More importantly weekly bands protect staff from drastic cuts to their hours and for many up to now this meant the potential of being reduced to 15 hours. Apparently management are also stating if hours become available they will only be offered to those who did not make a request under the new legislation. This type of behaviour amounts to nothing short of victimisation as defined in the new legislation and your union will support any member who wishes to make such a claim going forward.

Dunnes workers update: Making a request to be placed on a secure band of weekly working hours

To: All Dunnes Stores Members

From: Gerry Light, Assistant General Secretary

Re: Making a request to be placed on a secure band of weekly working hours

Dear Member

It has been confirmed that the provisions for banded hours provided in the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2018 are due to come into force next week.

As you may be aware Mandate information meetings and outreach clinics with Dunnes members have been taking place across the country over the past month to fully explain the banded hour’s legislation and the process your Union is taking in order to assist members to request a more secure band of weekly working hours. See link to main information sheet here.

A key requirement of the new law is that workers who have been employed with Dunnes for 12 months or more and who want to be placed on a more secure band of weekly working hours must submit a written request to their employer. Mandate has drafted a template letter for members. See link to sample letter you can print. NOTE: Only complete the name, address and signature part of the form. DO NOT complete the “Date” and “To” fields. You can get a template letter from your local Mandate office, official or a shop steward.

During the past several weeks your local officials have been collecting hundreds of signed request letters from Dunnes members that will soon be submitted by the Union together as a group to relevant store manager in each Dunnes location.

It is important that all Dunnes members who want to submit a request to the company through Mandate to return their signed request letter back to their Union Official/Organiser/Shop Steward before next Friday the 8th of March.  

While there will be opportunities to submit letters of request for banded hours through the Union on an ongoing basis in future, we encourage all members to return their letters before next Friday so as not to miss out on the first stage of these requests.

After letters are submitted to the store manager, you will receive confirmation via text message. The company then has a maximum of 4 weeks by law to place you in a new band in accordance with the legislation.

If you have any queries please contact your local Mandate office, official or shop steward.   www.mandate.ie

Any non-members who wish to join can do so at www.joinmandate.ie

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How to Make a Request to be placed in a Weekly Band of Hours under the New Legislation

Dear Member

As you are all aware, the Bill which will enable workers to have more secure weekly working hours based on the hours they actually work was passed and signed into law in late December 2018 after a long and hard fought campaign particularly by Mandate members in Dunnes Stores over several years.

The new law called the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2018 is expected to come into force during the first week of March 2019 and we will keep you informed of the specific dates once they are known.

It is essential given the fact that this new law would not have come into being only for the fighting spirit of our members in Dunnes that we ensure that they above all others fully benefit from its passing. In preparation for this your local Mandate Officials and Organisers will be coordinating together with Shop Stewards and other local union reps, local meetings, outreach visits and information days for Dunnes members in order to explain the process and to assist members in making requests for a secure weekly band of hours that is now for the first time ever based on the hours they actually work and thereafter reflected in a new contract of employment. Please look out for texts and other notices regarding these events for your store and make sure to attend them so that you have all the necessary information and are able to submit your request correctly. If you have any queries please contact your Shop Steward or local Mandate office.

As is always the case, the ability to protect and improve conditions for workers in Dunnes Stores depends on the strength in union membership across the company. That is why you should continue to strengthen your Union in Dunnes by sharing this information and asking fellow colleagues to join.

Yours fraternally

For Mandate Trade Union

Gerry Light

Assistant General Secretary


MANDATE TRADE UNION WILL BE HOSTING A BRIEFING ON THE NEW [Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018] IN DUN LAOGHAIRE ON WEDNESDAY, 6TH FEBRUARY 2019 AT 7PM IN THE ROYAL MARINE HOTEL. MORE INFORMATION AVAILABLE HERE.

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Dunnes workers win 3% pay increase

Mandate Trade Union has congratulated their members in Dunnes Stores following confirmation that a 3 percent pay increase will be applied to all staff and backdated to October 2018.

This brings the total pay increases won by Dunnes workers over the last 6 years to 18 percent and proves that being a member of a trade union pays.

Mandate lodged a pay claim on behalf of its 3,000 members in April but the company refused to concede and instead paid managers a 3 percent pay increase. Mandate wrote to the company last week and issued a statement calling on the company to award their staff a cost of living pay increase before Christmas.

The pay increase formed part of a wide pay and benefits claim made by Mandate Trade Union and also included secure hour contracts, more full time jobs and a staff discount scheme to be applied to all workers.

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary explained that almost all of the claim has now been delivered.

“We are welcoming Dunnes Store’s management’s concession of our pay claim which is well deserved recognition of our members hard work in bringing their company to the top retailer position in Ireland again. This follows the announcement that the staff discount scheme has now been opened up to all our members too,” he said.

“Furthermore, with the Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 about to be enacted in the Dail this evening or tomorrow, this will provide our members with secure hour contracts. This legislation will enable Dunnes workers to seek a new contract of employment that reflects the hours they actually work, enabling them to better plan their lives.”

Mr Light concluded: “With this pay increase and secure hour contracts imminent, this will be a much happier Christmas for many of our members in Dunnes Stores.”

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