Mandate condemn Supervalu Kavanagh Group for failing to recognise and reward its staff

Thursday 16 April 2020

Local retailer Kavanagh Group which currently operates 9 large Supervalu stores in Donegal, Mayo and Galway have been slammed by Mandate Trade Union for not properly rewarding the efforts of its employees during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

While other retailers have quickly moved to reward their staff by paying them extra for every hour worked during the crisis, Kavanagh Group are presenting some of their staff Supervalu Gift Card’s worth €300 paid over three four weekly installments.

Ciaran Campbell, Mandate’s North & West Divisional Organiser said the company’s offer “fell well short of the union’s position and also was not in line with what many other grocery retailers were rewarding their workers with.

“Mandate immediately sought a proper recognition and reward scheme reflective of the obvious strain and stress our members and their co-workers continue to experience daily going to work for this employer,” said Campbell.

“Some of what we looked for was a premium payment for all hours worked by staff during this pandemic, and very importantly a specific Covid-19 sick pay scheme. When our initial representations on these were refused, we then surveyed not only our members but their co-workers as well on the company’s position,” he said.

“It appears that on foot of this survey and other retailer’s moves to reward their staff, the employer then implemented the current gift card scheme.”

Campbell added, “It is fair to say that the survey feedback was not only significant but some of the comments from staff clearly demonstrated what they thought of the company’s offer.

“In effect the company are offering those staff working between 24 and 39 hours per week an extra 48 to 59cents per hour. Any member of staff working less than 16 hours per week get absolutely no recognition despite the fact they are working through the exact same conditions albeit for less time, and are also regarded as essential workers.”

“It is also important to appreciate that not only is this current recognition and reward scheme inequitable in the extreme but equally, the company has done absolutely nothing to address Mandates request for a Covid-19 specific sick pay scheme. At present the company are only operating their current company sick pay scheme which has a number of qualifying criteria for employees to access. Depending on years of service an employee is subjected to a 3 or 6 day wait for payment which is contrary to what the government is currently operating. This again clearly disadvantages staff and runs the potential risk that staff who are Covid-19 positive might not call in sick in the first place for fear of losing wages. This obviously has dangerous contagion impact on customers and the wider public.”

Campbell concluded: “We are calling on the company who are clearly benefiting from increased business during the crisis to properly and fully engage with Mandate immediately, where we can and will agree a recognition and reward scheme that is, critically, acceptable to their staff.”