Thursday 9 April 2009

Mandate trade union today (Thursday, 9 April 2009) announced that they are balloting for industrial action in Shaws department stores. The retail outlet has sixteen stores throughout the country employing over 1,000 staff members.

Mandate claim that the retailer is still profitable and it appears that the company is using the recession as a means to reduce the living standards of their workers in the pursuit of unattainable levels of profit.
Mandate Assistant General Secretary, Gerry Light said, “Shaws have refused to pay the national wage agreement despite still being a profitable company. The company are also planning significant reductions in hours for staff members, essentially meaning a wage cut for their workers.
Mr Light added, “Mandate has said previously that as a trade union we will not tolerate employers using the recession as a means to erode workers standards of living. We will behave in a reasonable manner should a company be in genuine financial difficulty, but under no circumstances will we accept any retailer who attempts to preserve excessive levels of profits which were established during the years of economic growth at the expense of workers and their families. To add insult to injury Shaws management have attempted to implement these changes without agreement with the union and its members”
“We are now left with no option but to commence balloting for industrial action in Shaws but if the company has genuine financial difficulties, there are mechanisms they can take in partnership with Mandate to come to a reasonable solution,” said Mr Light.
“Mandate has agreed to attend the conciliation services of the Labour Relations Commission on the basis that there are no pre-conditions to the meetings and that the measures unilaterally introduced thus far are withdrawn. Although requested, senior management at the company have refused to comply with this standard and well established procedural request”
Mr Light concluded by saying, “Mandate has shown through recent deals with other employers that the union and its members have the capacity to respond in a creative and responsible way when faced with a business that is genuinely suffering, especially in the current climate. We are not in the habit of risking our member’s jobs unnecessarily and if Shaws, or indeed any other employer are prepared to engage constructively, we are confident of reaching a satisfactory solution. Unfortunately, it would seem that the actions of Shaws management is less about survival and more to do with the insatiable pursuit of profits”
Shaws has Department Stores in the following locations:
· Athy, Co. Kildare;
· Ballina, Co. Mayo;
· Carlow Town;
· Castlebar, Co. Mayo;
· Drogheda, Co. Louth;
· Dungarvan, Co. Waterford;
· Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin;
· Fermoy, Co. Cork;
· Limerick City;
· Mountmellick, Co. Laois;
· Portlaoise, Co. Laois;
· Roscrea, Co. Tipperary;
· Tralee, Co. Kerry;
· Waterford City;
· Wexford Town.