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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.”
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.