Sunday 26 March 2017

Dunnes accused of 'targeting' workers who went on strike

Dunnes Stores MANDATE Trade Union workers led by Gerry Light Assistant General Secretary of MANDATE attending the Labour Court hearing on Haddington Road.
Pic Steve Humphreys
29th October 2014.
Dunnes Stores MANDATE Trade Union workers led by Gerry Light Assistant General Secretary of MANDATE attending the Labour Court hearing on Haddington Road. Pic Steve Humphreys 29th October 2014.
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Dunnes workers who went on a one-day strike last week have been hit with changes that are threatening their jobs, their union has claimed.

Mandate officials say workers all over the country were hit with sudden changes in conditions shortly after their industrial action last Thursday.

The actions have been branded "deplorable and despicable" by Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light as he condemned Dunnes Stores for "targeting" staff.

The union says it has received reports from members about dismissals, cuts to hours, changes in roles as well as altered shift patterns.

Last week's strike took place in protest at zero-hour and temporary contracts for some of the supermarket giant's workers.

"As a very last resort, and with no other option available to them, our members in Dunnes Stores took legitimate and reasonable industrial action," said Mr Light.

"All they want is for their company to meaningfully engage with them through their union, with the objective of creating decent working conditions.

Read more: Former Dunnes Stores worker Joan Burton supports strike over working contracts

"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.

"This behaviour by management in Dunnes Stores is deplorable and despicable and must be condemned by everybody."

The union outlined a range of the alleged actions by Dunnes.

It said workers have been dismissed - with one case taking place very shortly after the strike.

Mandate claims that a worker was informed that "the business isn't there" - despite workers with less service and who hadn't been on strike remaining in employment.

Income

The union said there were also cases where there had been cuts to hours, meaning a significant reduction in incomes for workers and their families.

As well as this, many workers have reported changes to regular shift patterns which make it difficult to manage family commitments. Mr Light added that the actions by Dunnes over the last five days have only strengthened the resolve of Dunnes workers who are now more determined than ever to achieve their objectives of decent work.

"The enormous public and political support for the Dunnes workers is needed now more than ever," said Mr Light.

Read more: I support Dunnes Stores workers' right to clarity in their working hours - Taoiseach

Mandate's National Disputes Committee, made up of Dunnes Stores shop stewards from all over the country, will meet early next week to consider the next actions in the campaign.

Escalation

This may include escalation of the dispute and further industrial action.

"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," he said.

"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 added.

Dunnes Stores Head Office was approached for comment on the allegations by Mandate against the company but said that media queries are not handled by phone.

An email address was supplied by Dunnes but a request for comment was not answered last night.

Irish Independent

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