City traders fear march will cost €20m in lost sales
BUSINESSES have claimed a mass demonstration against the €6bn Budget could cost them €20m in losses.
And they urged unions to call off the protest that is expected to draw thousands of people to Dublin city centre later today.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has organised the march from Wood Quay to the GPO at noon which will be followed by a rally.
City centre traders claim they will lose millions of euro if thousands of people take to the streets on one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas.
According to the Dublin City Business Improvement District group, retail sales range from €15m to €20m in the city centre on an average Saturday.
Retail Ireland described the march as "irresponsible", and warned it would affect workers in the wake of 47,000 job losses in the sector since recession struck.
"This march should be reconsidered because there will be a multi-million loss in sales, " said Retail Ireland director Torlach Denihan.
But the main union for retail workers, Mandate, said the protest was justified as its members on the minimum wage faced a pay cut.
"People need an occasion to vent their angst about what's happening," said the union's general secretary, John Douglas.