Mandate condemn Dunnes Stores for using workers as pawns in property dispute

Friday 22 May 2015, 04pm

Mandate Trade Union has condemned in the strongest possible terms the closure of the Dunnes Stores outlet in Gorey, Co. Wexford, over what appears to be a petty dispute with the property management company over a side entrance. The store closure will effect more than 100 workers.
 
The Union says Dunnes Stores is using the livelihoods of 100 workers as a protest against a Court injunction granted yesterday (Thursday, 23 May 2015) which demanded they close the side entrance to the business.
 
John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary said the company’s behaviour is despicable and grossly irresponsible.
 
“There are 100 families in Wexford who have no idea whether they’ll have a job next week or not. All because Dunnes Stores have broken a lease agreement with their property management agent and they stubbornly refuse to abide by a Court injunction,” said Mr Douglas.
 
“This shows the level of contempt Dunnes Stores have for their own staff and the arrogance they have when it comes to abiding by the laws of the land,” he said.
 
In a letter to traders in the Shopping mall today, the property management agent said:
 
“…Dunnes Stores opened a door leading directly to the surface car park last November. The net effect of opening this door was that customers could bypass the smaller traders on the mall and it was a clear breach of their lease obligations. Dunnes Stores were asked to close the door on numerous occasions but refused to engage on the issue. To protect the business of the small traders on the mall the Receiver sought an injunction to force Dunnes Stores to close the door to the surface car park and that injunction was granted yesterday pending a formal arbitration hearing.
 
“Following the Court’s decision, Dunnes Stores have taken the decision to close the store with immediate effect.”
 
Mandate say the company must to do the responsible thing by immediately engaging with the workers’ representatives and the property management agent in order to protect the business and the 100 jobs at risk.
 
Mr Douglas said: “The anxiety, uncertainty and stress this has caused those 100 workers in Gorey is totally unnecessary and unacceptable. Senior management in Dunnes Stores should be ashamed of themselves. It’s bad enough that the company won’t give their workers secure hours and a living wage, but now they’re playing games with people’s lives over a side entrance to the business.”
 
Mr Douglas said the Union is holding a meeting with the workers this evening and more updates will follow.

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