Motions at Mandate BDC 2022

Sunday 8 May 2022

Below are the motions passed at the most recent Mandate Trade Union Bienniel Delegate Conference.

Union Affairs

  1. Maximising and Sharing Union Resources

This Conference recognises that Mandate Trade Union has finite resources both financial and personnel and that there is very limited scope in the immediate future to increase these resources by reverting to the existing membership base.

Because of these limited resources, as a union we must be selective and strategic in the issues we pursue across our agenda.  Therefore, there is an onus on every level within Mandate to ensure that our existing resources are both appropriate and fit for purpose and that we use them to achieve maximum impact to improve the position of our members and workers generally.  With this in mind, this conference instructs the incoming NEC, in conjunction with all stake holders to evaluate all union functions with a view to maximising our resources in areas where they deliver.  This review should not only include Mandate’s own internal resources but also how and on what basis we interact with other like-minded unions and to explore the potential for increasing and releasing resources and by increasing the impact of unions by collaboration and sharing resources so as to fight effectively, organise and represent workers into the future.  A report should be presented to the NEC no later than twelve (12) months from the close of the 2022 BDC.

National Executive Council

  1. Campaigns

This conference commends the stance made by Mandate Trade Union and our members on the industrial, social and political issues of importance not only to our members and their families, but also wider society.  Issues such as the prevalence of low pay, precarious employment contracts, marriage equality, reproductive rights, homelessness, water changes, political corruption etc.  This conference directs the incoming NEC to continue to highlight and campaign on such matters of importance as they arise and to continue to mobilise our members and supporters to fight injustices both at home and abroad

National Executive Council

  1. Motion Updates

This Conference calls on the incoming National Executive Council of Mandate Trade Union to produce and disseminate to all local councils an update as to the actions undertaken by the Union in relation to motions passed at the previous Biennial Delegate Conference. The updates should be produced and disseminated 9 months and 18 months after the closing of the previous Biennial Delegate Conference.

City Centre Local Council

  1. Communications

Conference acknowledges the strong communications Mandate currently has and operates by way of social media but instructs the incoming NEC to identify and make more use of other social media tools, namely twitter and Instagram.

Letterkenny Local Council

  1. Internal Communication

Conference notes that the union has over time considerably resourced in developing and maintaining its communication facilities, e.g. SMS messaging, video links, social media, etc. Whilst welcoming this development and the clear and obvious benefits derived from the same, Conference notes the preferred member communication tool is direct face to face engagement at all levels. This type of engagement creates real activism and ensures it is two way, thus developing the potential for relationships, trust and confidence in the organisation by encouraging constructive feedback, agreed strategy and absolute clarity of purpose.

Conference instructs that the NEC surveys its members on how best they want to be communicated, with a view to ensuring recognition of the most cost effective and efficient tool and/or process for future reference.

Westport Local Council

  1. Mandate Youth Observer Seat on the NEC

Conference directs that incoming NECs provide for an observer status member seat for Mandate Youth on those NECs. The holder of this seat will be elected by Mandate Youth at its first meeting following the BDC at which the NEC has been elected.

Leitrim Local Council

  1. Company Insolvencies-Changes to Employment and Company Law

This conference notes the devastating effect that Covid-19 has had on retail workers and in particular the negative impact on their mental, physical and financial well-being.  Many of our members have paid the ultimate price through the loss of their jobs as a result of the businesses in which they worked being declared insolvent.  It is an indictment on the current and previous governments that sufficient protective measures are still not in place preventing workers from being subjected to the legislative shortfalls contained within the current Company and Employment legislative framework intended to deal with insolvencies thus leading to unnecessary trauma and suffering for the workers impacted.  From early in the Debenhams and Arcadia closures Mandate was and continues to be to the forefront in calling for appropriate changes to both labour and company law and in this regard we were central to the ICTU campaign that demanded such changes.  This conference instructs the incoming NEC to ensure that priority is given to the delivery of these campaign objectives.

                                                                                                            National Executive Council

  1. Union Democracy

         Conference, recognising that active members are the cornerstone of trade unionism and the lifeblood of any vibrant, dynamic Trade Union, instructs the incoming National Executive Council, to provide sufficient resources to:

  • Conduct a communications’ exercise to explain the purpose of Local Councils and encourage more participation amongst the membership.
  • Provide training and mentoring to Local Council Members, so as to empower the members to have the skills and confidence to efficiently and effectively chair the Council meeting and for secretaries to take and circulate meeting minutes, agendas and generally encourage more member participation.
  • To consider the feasibility of broadcasting the next Biennial Delegate Conference (public session) via webcast to the membership, leading to far greater membership participation.

                                                                    The Artane/Finglas/Santry Local Council

Industrial Relations

  1. Decent Work Charter

This conference notes the continued prevalence of low pay and precarious employment contracts, and the impact these have on retail workers, in particular female workers and how this impacts on the unacceptably wide gender pay gap not only in retail, but across the economy.  This coupled with anti-union employers and the lack of effective statutory trade union rights is condemning many workers to poverty.  This conference fully endorses Mandate’s charter for decent work which sets out basic decency thresholds and workers’/union rights including a voice at work.  This conference instructs the incoming NEC to make the charter for decent work the bedrock of Mandate’s industrial policy in discussions with all employers, and to set a time frame for the achievement of the goals of the charter across the retail sector by the use of collective bargaining campaigns, organising and industrial action if required.

National Executive Council

  1. Christmas/St Stephen’s Day and Easter Sunday

Conference calls on the incoming National Executive Council to campaign to have Christmas Day, St Stephen’s Day and Easter Sunday as designated non trading days in retail.

Limerick Local Council

  1. Tip Theft

This Conference notes and commends the exceptional campaign being run by our sister union UNITE with regard to the tip theft by employers.  We call on the incoming National Executive Council of Mandate Trade Union to establish, through the drafting and disseminating of a survey to our members employed in the bar trade, if tip theft is prevalent within the trade.  If it is established that tip theft is an issue then the incoming National Executive Council of Mandate should develop and implement a campaign to highlight and stop the practice of tip theft.

City Centre Local Council

  1. Comprehensive Motion 1 (to be moved by City Centre Local Council)

This Conference applauds the public stance taken by Mandate and other campaigning unions to seek to have the 1990 Industrial Relations Act repealed and replaced with a suite of legislation intended to better protect working people and assist them to better organise into unions.

Conference therefore instructs the incoming Mandate NEC to initiate and adequately fund a national campaign, with other like-minded campaigning unions, to secure strengthened employment law through the establishment of a Fair Work Act in Ireland.  This Fair Work Act should include the right to join a union; the right access workplaces; the right to representation; effective union recognition and collective bargaining rights; the inalienable right to strike; the right to decent and fair work and any additional legislative provisions deemed necessary in defence of the Irish working class.

Conference further instructs the incoming NEC to seek to influence the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to campaign to abolish the 1990 IR Act in its entirety and to join in the fight to secure robust and effective workers’ rights legislation and if so required due constitutional amendment that adequately defends against the rampant neo-liberal agenda pursued by successive Irish governments since the foundation of the free State.

Covering Motion 46 Repeal the Industrial Relations Act – National Executive Council,

Motion 47 Trade Union Recognition – Sligo Local Council,

Motion 48 Right of Access Political Campaign – Castlebar Local Council and

Motion 49 Collective Bargaining – Swords Local Council

(Secondary Schedule, Category A)

  1. Industrial Relations

Conference notes that Mandate members experience a multitude of pay rates/scales and terms and conditions within their own and across all Irish retail employments, many of which are potentially divisive within our workplace memberships. Conference recognises the necessity to address these serious inequalities and differences and instructs the NEC to ensure that future industrial relations strategies- most especially the large multi-national retailers – have at their core the fundamental of equalisation of pay and terms and conditions whereby the best practice becomes the norm, and not the reverse, thus creating a clear race to the bottom.

Conference notes that current Mandate ‘pay and benefit claims’ serve as a template for such strategy which receive the welcome endorsement of the majority of affected members. Conference recognises that the large retailers have the financial scope and capacity to relent to these pay and benefit claims and thus instructs that all future industrial relation strategy double down on these and thus present the organisation as one that matters in retail.

Sligo Local Council

  1. Respect Retail Workers re Robust Legislation

In furtherance of Mandate’s Respect Retail Workers’ Campaign, Conference instructs the National Executive Council to work with other unions, political parties and independents, academics and other relevant groups for the purpose of initiating a campaign to bring forward robust legislation that will help eliminate all forms of bullying by individual and institutional bullying by organisations in the workplace, by providing for stiffer penalties not just for the guilty perpetrators but for the organisation they work by way of vicarious liability.

Galway Local Council

  1. Communities Against Low Pay

Conference notes the restrictions placed on Trade Unions by the Industrial Relations Act 1990 when it comes to industrial action and strikes.

Conference further recognises the importance of strong community organisations such as Communities Against Low Pay, and the role they may play in the successful outcome of any industrial action and strikes.

Therefore, conference calls on the incoming NEC to work with like-minded political and civil society groups such as the Communities Against Low Pay to strengthen Mandate’s industrial and political strength.

Galway Local Council

  1. Family Friendly Policies

Conference acknowledges that many if not all retail employments family friendly policies are limited in their statement and application. Conference notes that at present there is little or no family friendly and/or work-life balance employment policies and legislation that ensures no disadvantage where required to look after a sick child or loved one. Whilst it is recognised that Force Majeure leave is a right, it is limited and only provides for emergency situations. Conference instructs the incoming NEC to explore by way of membership survey the feasibility of pursuing paid release for these type of workplace scenarios in future industrial relation strategies and similarly, the potential for possible inclusion in Mandate retail charters for pay and benefit claims.

         Letterkenny Local Council

  1. Women’s Rights

Conference notes that the gender make-up of its membership is predominantly female. As such Conference instructs the incoming NEC to ensure that the organisation’s industrial relations strategies embrace and work towards employer/union agreements that provide for women to access maternity pay while on leave, that gender related illnesses of whatever sort are not applied to generic sick pay schemes, that employer policies are gender proofed to ensure they do not adversely impact on female workers. The latter should recognise that the ever increasing flexibility and productivity demands of retail employers fails to recognise the impacts on work/life balances most particularly around child care responsibilities, etc., which in the main fall to women.

Westport Local Council

  1. The Living Wage

Conference calls on our NEC to apply pressure in all ways it deems appropriate to increase the minimum wage to become a living wage of at least 60% of the median wage.

Navan Local Council


  1. Comprehensive Motion No.2- Mental Health Services

Conference condemns the Minister for Health, for the HSE’s failings in relation to adult inpatient psychiatric units including admissions for children, inadequate mental health assessment units and insufficient numbers in psychiatric nursing.  The use of prisons as a dumping ground for people suffering from mental conditions is appalling as is the lack of proper co-ordinated children’s counselling services.

Suicide in Ireland is the seventeenth highest rate in Europe and the fourth highest for males aged 15 – 24, this figure appears to be on the decrease, however, it is still alarmingly high.  These figures would be different if Ireland had a Government that cared enough to put in place the facilities that are required.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to call upon the Minister to conduct a root and branch assessment into what the HSE currently provides and as a matter of urgency put in place proper services and facilities for both adults and children.

Conference further directs the NEC to heighten membership awareness of suicide using whatever methods and available resources possible, e.g. Shopfloor articles, membership and activist driven fundraising, partnering with relative community groups, etc.

Newbridge and Kildare Local Council

With Motion 50, Suicide Awareness – Ballina Local Council

 (Secondary Schedule Category A)

  1. Legalising Cannabis

Conference recognises the medicinal benefits of the natural drug cannabis. Conference further notes the continued reluctance to have this drug legalised and available for medicinal purposes and thus instructs the incoming NEC to correspond Mandate’s support for any campaign particular to addressing this medicinal deficit.

Castlebar Local Council

  1. Autism

Conference notes that the long and far reaching austerity programme unleashed on the Irish people had most impact on the relatively voiceless electorate, i.e. the disabled. This has negatively impacted on due proper and adequate educational resourcing of children challenged with autism with evident consequences on their parents, siblings and the home.

Despite the obvious and welcome recognition that Irish society has for autistic children and adults, successive Irish governmental policies are only paying lip service to the educational needs of these children and the important supports required at home. Conference instructs the incoming NEC to correspond with the relative governmental departments, Mandate’s concerns at the lack of resources and supports in this area.

Ballina Local Council


  1. Training

Conference recognises the need for more coverage of trade unions on school learning curriculums.  Trade unions have played a large role in our history and it is vitally important for young people before entering into employment to learn this and also be aware of the role of a trade union.

In light of this, Conference calls on the incoming National Executive Council to lobby government and the relevant departments of education to ensure both the history and the role of trade unions are included in students’ learning in order to better educate future trade union members.

Wicklow Local Council

  1. Trade Union Training Release

Conference instructs the incoming NEC to lobby the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) to seek that all trade union members receive appropriate paid release from their employers to attend trade union specific training.

Conference requests that this policy, if adopted, is one of the 2 Mandate motions that will be put forward to the next ICTU Biennial Delegate Conference.

Monaghan Local Council

  1. Mandate and Student Body Liaison

Conference directs the incoming NEC to develop an action plan that engages, educates and works with students providing the basic knowledge of Trade Unions and their roles in our society. Recognising the lack of knowledge and/or awareness about the Irish trade union movement and its history in the education system, most students have no knowledge of Trade Unions and/or their rights in the workplace. This action plan should involve going into Irish schools, engaging with the students using all our tools including workshops. The plan should also involve liaising with the Students Unions in our university/colleges to ensure knowledge of workplace rights.

Leitrim Local Council

  1. Activists’ Training

Conference calls on the incoming NEC to make it mandatory that all members appointed to National Negotiating Teams undertake Negotiation Skills Training.

Tralee Local Council

Tax and Social Welfare

  1. Retirement Age – Working Beyond

Conference calls on the incoming National Executive Council to lobby Government to make it legally compulsory on employers to offer employees an extension to their employment beyond age 65 and on the employees existing terms and conditions.

Limerick Local Council

  1. Stop 67 Campaign

This Conference notes and commends the exceptional Stop 67 campaign, being run by our sister union SIPTU with regard to the Irish government’s plan to increase the State Pension Age to 67 in 2021.  We call on the incoming National Executive Council of Mandate Trade Union to fully support the Stop 67 Campaign by highlighting the campaign amongst the Mandate members.

City Centre Local Council

Addendum to Motion 30. 67 Campaign

“and furthermore to campaign against any such moves by the Government to increase the pension age in the future “.

City Centre Local Council

  1. Extension of Free Travel Pass to Long Term Illness Scheme

Conference recognises the challenges faced by people with long-term illnesses in actively participating in the labour market.

Conference notes that free travel pass is extended to those with disabilities but not to those with long term illnesses that choose to remain in the labour market.

Conference therefore calls on the incoming NEC to campaign and lobby for the inclusion of the Free Travel Pass to people entitled to access the long-term illness scheme as a support to these workers to remain in the labour market.

Galway Local Council

  1. Homelessness Fund Report

Conference notes the rise in homelessness in Irish Society in recent years.  Many Mandate members are affected by this unfortunate development.

Consequently, conference calls on the incoming NEC to commission a report in relation to the establishment of a fund to be made available to Mandate members in such circumstances.  The report to consider whether this fund is funded from existing union subscriptions and/or a voluntary additional levy; the criteria to avail of the fund and the necessary rule changes required should such a fund be established.  Conference calls on the incoming NEC to report back to the 2024 BDC with a recommendation on the merits or otherwise of the establishment of such a fund.

Galway Local Council

  1. Mandatory Pension Scheme

Conference notes with concern the government‘s plan to introduce a mandatory private pension scheme for all employees in Ireland increasing to 6% contribution from both employers and employees.  This is an effective pay cut or low paid workers in Ireland.

Conference further notes employers in Ireland pay the lowest rate of social insurance contributions (PRSI) in the EU (second only to Denmark who include social insurance in general income tax).  If the employer was to pay the full 12% contribution, they would still not be paying the average social insurance rate of the EU countries.

Conference further notes with concern the money raised from pension contributions may currently be invested in arms manufacturing and industries that are a threat to the environment.

Therefore conference calls on the incoming NEC to initiate a campaign with the other unions, political parties, independent TDs and civil society groups, to call for the 12% contribution to be made entirely by the employer in full recognition of the low social insurance contributions they pay compared to most other EU states, and calls on all money raised through the new system to be ring-fenced for investment in State funded housing health education.

Tullamore Local Council

  1. New Pension Scheme

Conference affirms its absolute opposition to current government proposals re the state pension contributory scheme, as well as the increase of the pension/retirement age. Conference instructs the incoming NEC to do what it can to highlight our policy position on these proposals and similarly enjoin with and support as far as possible all campaigns similarly positioned.

         Letterkenny Local Council

  1. Taxation

Conference affirms that successive governmental policies and budgets unfairly and unevenly disadvantages the lesser well off. In terms of limiting the tax intake potential that currently prevails, e.g. low rates of corporation tax, legislated for tax loopholes, SARF type incentive schemes, etc., Conference requests that the incoming NEC does what it can to make Mandate’s policy position on current taxation regimes known and where possible initiate and/or enjoin with those campaigning similar to this policy position.

         Sligo Local Council


  1. The Far Right

Conference notes the rise of the far-right wing in Irish society in recent months.  Conference instructs the incoming NEC to encourage and support all Mandate members, activists and employees to kerb the rise of the far-right wing in their workplace and communities, as the ideology runs counter to the principles of Trade Unionism.  Conference calls on the NEC to work with other organisations, political parties and groups that share similar objectives to kerb the rise of the far-right wing, which should have no part in Irish society.

Athlone Local Council

  1. North West Investment

Conference recognises that to date there has been little or no progress made on our policy position regards the lack of governmental investment and resource in the North West area, namely Co Donegal. As a means of strategically addressing this, Conference requests the NEC to instruct Mandate’s Letterkenny and Sligo Local Councils to immediately design and launch a campaign involving appropriate political, community, fraternal and associated trade union councils to highlight our consistent policy position on this. This campaign should involve as far as possible media drives, engagement with local and

national political representatives, alliances with community groups campaigning for due investment and resources, the hosting and delivering of public awareness seminars and where possible all types/methods of peaceful protests.

Letterkenny Local Council

  1. Insurance Costs

Conference recognises and applauds Sinn Fein’s – not least its TD Pearse Doherty – current campaign regards what can only be regarded as the exploitative money making practices of the country’s insurance industry. These are particularly manifest and felt in rural Ireland where due to the lack of infrastructure and public transport, people – Mandate members included – rely on their own means of transport to travel. Thus the extortionate cost of car insurance has maximum impact. Conference instructs the incoming NEC to correspond with Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty our support for his and his party’s efforts and campaigning on this matter. Further Conference instructs the incoming NEC to ensure that that correspondence of support is made known by whatever means possible to our membership.

Letterkenny Local Council

  1. Tenancy and Rents

Conference notes the continued homelessness crisis and the fact that successive governments and certain Irish political parties either legislate for or have a clear opposition to legislate against the ongoing malpractices of landlords that are and continue to take advantage of the current housing market forces that are unfairly balanced towards these same landlords.

Conference directs that the incoming NEC corresponds Mandate’s continued support for those political parties and campaigns that seek to address these unfair imbalances that disadvantages tenants and only contributes to the spiralling homelessness crisis. In corresponding Mandate’s support for the aforementioned, Conference instructs that the incoming NEC ensures Mandate’s representative and member activism is actively encouraged all such campaigns that legislates for the protection of tenancy against landlord opportunism.

Castlebar Local Council

  1. Raise the Roof Campaign

Conference calls on the incoming NEC that we continue and step up the Raise the Roof campaign. Nowhere near is enough being done by our government to improve homelessness, which has been on a steady rise, including young children and families being placed in emergency accommodation.

         Leitrim Local Council

  1. Exploitation of Migrant Workers

Conference calls on our NEC to engage with relevant community and voluntary organisations, and migrant community groups, to raise awareness of the exploitation of workers and to work with them to close loopholes in the law that allows the exploitation of migrants to continue.

Drogheda Local Council

  1. Increase Workers’ Share of National Income

Over the years, the share of the national economy going to labour as opposed to capital has declined.

Therefore we call on conference to instruct our National Executive Council to pursue a campaign which will ensure that the CSO and other agencies will publish and analyse how economic output is distributed.

Will ensure the CSO and other agencies publish and analyse how income and wealth are distributed across society.

Will lobby the government to replace the Combat Poverty Agency, abolished by Fianna Fail in 2009, with a new economic equality agency tasked with designing a social democratic market economy model for Ireland that will eliminate poverty and ensure everyone can achieve a decent standard of living.

That the State will create a standing commission on taxation to analyse the tax and social insurance system, to recommend changes so that there is a fairer distribution of income and wealth across society.

Dundalk Local Council


  1. Anti-War and Peace Movements

Conference calls on the incoming NEC to take greater action in the promotion of the Anti-war/peace movements in Ireland; to strongly counter the erosion of Ireland’s historic neutrality; to support the public condemnation of the allowance of US troops through Shannon airport and support opposition to Ireland joining the European PESCO agreement.

Athlone Local Council

  1. Climate Change

Conference calls on retailers to take a more proactive approach in relation to the impact of the products that are sold and packaged to the environment.  Retailers are in a good position to make decisions that could put the larger consumer goods industry on a more environmentally sustainable path.

Not only is there irresponsible packaging of food and dry goods, but the clothing industry releases millions of tons of microfibers into our oceans every year which is no longer sustainable.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to meet with IBEC and other bodies to discuss how retailers can play a more responsible role in cleaning up the environment and doing their part in helping to reverse the damage done to our climate.

Longford Local Council