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Dunnes Stores agree to pay workers COVID-19 premium following worker pressure

Management in Dunnes Stores have confirmed the company will pay workers a 10% COVID-19 premium payment backdated to the 9th March 2020 following pressure from a Mandate Trade Union petition signed by more than 3,000 workers.

This brings Dunnes in line with other retailers including Aldi and Tesco, who were the first retailer to agree to a premium payment on March 21st.

Dunnes Stores have agreed to increase the staff discount card to 20% for all workers and it appears the company have also agreed to a COVID-19 sick pay scheme.

Mandate General Secretary John Douglas welcomed the move saying it is the minimum profitable retailers should do considering the sacrifices being made by retail workers during this pandemic.

“There are thousands of retail workers all across the country who are putting their own health at risk during this public health crisis. The very least they should expect is a 10% premium on top of their current pay rates,” said Douglas.

He added, “Dunnes workers got themselves organised and established a petition through Mandate Trade Union with three key demands: a fair premium for the hazards they’re enduring; an increase in their staff discount scheme; and a sick pay scheme that covers them if they contract the coronavirus and are required to isolate. They’ve been successful on all three fronts.

“That lesson should be learned by all other retail workers.”

Douglas said: “Retail workers deserve a premium for the hard work they’re putting in and continue to put in throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, and the best way this can be achieved is by standing together in their union.”

Dunnes Stores worker from Ballina in Mayo, Patrick Killeen, said: “Many of us are scared. While the government has told everyone to stay at home, it’s not possible for us. We have to make sure there’s food on the shelves, and we’re not taking this lightly.

“This premium payment we’ve won will help us, but the most important thing for all of us in retail is that our employer ensures our health and safety is paramount.”

Killeen concluded: “If you work in retail and you’re working through this pandemic, I can’t emphasise how important it is to be a member of your union and ensure that we’re all compensated fairly and that our health and safety is protected.”

10% Premium Payment & Sick Pay Protections during Covid-19


DUNNES_covid_petition

23rd March 2020
To:  All Mandate members – Dunnes Stores
From: Gerry Light, Assistant General Secretary

Based on a large number of requests from Dunnes members on the announcement that Tesco Ireland are giving all staff a 10% premium payment for working during the Covid-19 pandemic, the union has written to Dunnes Stores management today (see letter attached) seeking the following:

  • 10% premium payment for hours worked during the pandemic
  • Introduction of a Covid-19 Sick Pay Protection Scheme
  • Increase the Staff Privilege Card to a 20% discount for all staff

In conjunction with the request letter to Dunnes management your union is hosting an online petition so that all staff can add their voice to this request and increase the pressure on Dunnes to do the right thing.

Click here to sign the petition

 

Please do what you can to encourage all members and non-members to sign it while also directing any non-members to join at http://www.joinmandate.ie

If you have any queries or need assistance on issues concerning compliance with HSE Covid-19 guidelines in your store, contact your local Mandate office.

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.

Dunnes Stores – Sandra Buckley 251119

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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