Tuesday 11 December 2012

The Mandate Trade Union has launched its exciting and innovative Fair Shop campaign to encourage the country’s 800,000 trade unionists and consumers in general to shop with retailers that respect their workers.

A Fair Shop employer in Ireland recognises their employees’ basic right to join a union and also very importantly affords workers’ representatives full collective bargaining rights.
Fair Shop employers identified so far are: Argos,Arnotts, Boots, Brown Thomas, Caulfield’s Supervalu, Clerys, Debenhams, Heaton’s, Hickeys, Marks and Spencer, Penneys, Pettit’s Supervalu, Shaws, Shoe Zone, Superquinn and Tesco Ireland – many more will be announced over the period ahead.
The key driving force behind the Fair Shop initiative will be its website – – which will run regular Fair Shop promotions, feature a list of Fair Shop employers and supporters and host a Fair Shop location finder.
Mandate’s General Secretary, John Douglas, explained that: “We believe the right to join a union and to have it negotiate on your behalf are fundamental and basic human rights and are well worth supporting by consumers with their spending power. Fair Shop is a modern ethical consumer campaign. It is built primarily on the principle of putting workers first for a change and we are calling on consumers to shop ethically if at all possible, back the campaign and support workers’ rights.”
John Douglas said that the Fair Shop campaign – by encouraging consumers to shop with retailers who treat their workers fairly – is also designed to promote the value to retail companies of respecting workers and offering them a decent living income.
Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary, Gerry Light, said that as many trade unionists will undoubtedly testify, very few – if any – relationships between an employer, their employees and their union is ever perfect.
“Disagreements happen from time-to-time but Fair Shop transcends the day-to-day drudgery of industrial relations and acknowledges those employers who ‘do the right thing’ by their staff. We hope, in return, Ireland’s 800,000 trade union members, their families and supporting organisations will also ‘do the right thing’ by checking out a Fair Shop in their local area and by making ethical purchases on a regular basis.”
Mr Light said that over recent years, there have been increasing assaults on workers’ rights, pay and conditions of service by many unscrupulous employers.
“These employers have sought to gain an unfair and financial advantage over those competitors that do respect their employees’ entitlements. This approach needs to be challenged across the retail sector by the spending power of thousands of ethically-minded consumers. Our use of this collective and individual consumer power has the very real potential to improve conditions for workers across the retail sector and Fair Shop provides the basic information required to make those ethical purchasing decisions.”
John Douglas said that over the coming period, Fair Shop will develop brand recognition and strength by working alongside Fair Shop retailers.
“The initial reaction to the campaign from a number of the major retailers has been fantastic. Already many Fair Shop-nominated employers – seeing the value in the initiative – have been talking to Mandate about developing brand awareness and promoting joint actions.
“As an integral part and the driving force behind the Fair Shop initiative, a new website – – has been launched. The site is compatible with all modern Smartphone technology and will run regular Fair Shop promotions that will only be accessible on the site. It will also feature a list of Fair Shop employers and supporters. Added to that, the campaign will also have dedicated Facebook and Twitter social networking pages.
“Importantly from a consumer’s point of view – the site will host a Fair Shop location finder so nobody can have any excuse for being unable to locate a Fair Shop locally”, John Douglas concluded.