Friday 6 March 2009

Mandate trade union has written to Dunnes Stores seeking clarification on the company’s redundancy policy. Mandate has received reports that Dunnes Stores has been offering a voluntary redundancy package equivalent to a statutory entitlement and the union have questioned the necessity of the redundancies considering Dunnes is still a profitable company.

Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary, Gerry Light said, “We’ve written to Dunnes to seek clarification on a number of matters. Firstly we want to establish whether there is a legitimate case for redundancy, and if so, it is our firm view that the financial ability of Dunnes Stores based on current profit levels affords an opportunity to offer terms far in excess of statutory levels when dealing with proper redundancy situations.
“If it turns out there is no reasonable ground to support a redundancy programme initiative, we must challenge the primary motive behind it and question whether management have once again placed corporate interests ahead of their workers and the common good.”
In Mandate’s letter to Dunnes, the union questions whether Dunnes are facilitating an unnecessary transfer of individuals from the workforce to the live register.
Mr Light said, “Currently all in our society are faced with the unsavoury consequences arising from the global economic recession. Central to our difficulties are spiralling unemployment levels which have risen by some 87% over the course of the last year. In response, the social partners are at one in ensuring that maximum numbers of jobs are maintained and in doing so oppose the unnecessary and convenient shedding of workers, particularly in profitable enterprises.”
Mr Light went on to say, “It is difficult to see how Dunnes Stores behaviour, as one of the country’s largest private sector employers, lends support to this national cross sector agenda. In fact it could be construed that their actions run contrary to its intentions in that a direct consequence is to facilitate an unnecessary transfer of individuals from the workforce to the live register resulting in a additional burden on the public finances at a time when they can least afford to absorb it.
“Additionally, in the event that Dunnes exercise their right to claim from the employers rebate scheme, the exchequer will sub vent the cost of their redundancy programme to the tune of 60% leaving the tax payer to pay costs towards an unnecessary redundancy programme.”
Gerry Light said that Mandate is calling on the senior management and owners of Dunnes Stores, as one of the largest private sector employers in the country, to play a full role in combating the extensive range of economic challenges facing Irish society.
He said, “Great emphasis is placed by Dunnes on the core Irish identity of their business. At times like this, the company needs to extend beyond the rhetoric and ensure that any of its decisions leading to initiatives like the current redundancy programme do not give rise to claims of acting against the national interest.”
Mandate concluded the letter by stating that in the event that Dunnes requires to engage in necessary staff restructuring programmes, representatives of the union remain available to engage in a constructive fashion.