Retribution for Dunnes Stores strike is despicable, says Mandate Trade Union

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Mandate Trade Union has today (Wednesday, 8th April) condemned Dunnes Stores for targeting staff who participated in the nationwide strike last Thursday, 2nd April.

The union has received reports from members all over the country who have experienced:
  • Dismissals
  • Cuts to hours
  • Changes in roles
  • Changes in shift patterns
Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary said: “As a very last resort, and with no other option available to them, our members in Dunnes Stores took legitimate and reasonable industrial action.
“All they want is for their company to meaningfully engage with them through their union, with the objective of creating decent working conditions. Now, their employer is blatantly targeting people with the hope of intimidating their own loyal staff and turning them away from any future trade union activities,” said Mr Light.
“This behaviour by management in Dunnes Stores is deplorable and despicable and must be condemned by everybody,” he added.
Mr Light said the actions by Dunnes over the last five days has only strengthened the resolve of Dunnes workers who are now more determined than ever to achieve their objectives of decent work.
“This is exactly what we’ve been campaigning for in Dunnes Stores,” he said.
“The actions of management in the past week clearly illustrate the disproportionate level of control and power that managers have over their workers and their incomes, but this is nothing new for workers in Dunnes.”
The Union explained some of the actions by Dunnes:
  • Workers have been dismissed – with one case taking place less than 24 hours after the strike. The local manager informed the worker “the business isn’t there” – despite workers with less service and who hadn’t been on strike remaining in employment.
  • Cuts to hours meaning a significant reduction in incomes for workers and their families.
  • Workers who have worked in certain departments for more than twenty years have been moved to other departments where they may potentially lose hours and suffer a change to their established working patterns in the future.
  • Many workers have reported changes to regular shift patterns which make it difficult to manage family commitments.
Mr Light said: “The enormous public and political support for the Dunnes workers is needed now more than ever. Employers like Dunnes Stores should not be allowed to get away with this type of behaviour. This is why the government needs to implement stronger anti-victimisation laws and they also need to prioritise robust collective bargaining legislation.”
Mandate’s National Disputes Committee – which comprises of Dunnes Stores shop stewards from all over the country – will meet early next week to consider the next actions in the campaign which may include escalation of the dispute and further industrial action.
“Regrettably Dunnes Stores is continuing their chosen path of conflict and intimidation. Their behaviour is akin to something you’d see 100 years ago and it is very clear their irresponsible behaviour is damaging the business. We implore senior managers in Dunnes Stores to stop this campaign of retribution and intimidation and do the sensible and reasonable thing for both the business and for their loyal workers,” he said.
“They should simply sit down and enter meaningful negotiations with their workers through their trade union us as a matter of urgency, before they do any more damage to the business,” concluded Mr Light.