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Tuesday 25 October 2016

'Jobs will be gone by Christmas if this continues,' warn retailers

David Kearns

Published 26/09/2016 | 02:30

Dublin Bus workers on the picket at the Ringsend garage at the weekend. Photo: Colin O’Riordan
Dublin Bus workers on the picket at the Ringsend garage at the weekend. Photo: Colin O’Riordan

Hundreds of jobs will be gone before Christmas if the Dublin Bus strikes continue, retailers warned after the first stoppage on a Saturday.

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Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) revealed that sales in Dublin's city centre plunged by up to 60pc while the buses were stopped this weekend.

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce (DCC) fears retailers in the capital will be forced to consider cutting staff if further strikes go ahead.

"We have a lot of anxious retailers worried now after Saturday's industrial action," said Graeme McQueen, DCC spokesman. "Across the board it was a big hit. Some of the bigger outlets were down 25pc to 30pc.

"They can't afford to keep staff levels the same on (strike) days, not when they're missing out on so much footfall."

Read more: Shops forced to close early as bus strike cripples city

Mr McQueen told the Irish Independent that uncertainty around the strikes was making it difficult for retailers to plan ahead, especially coming into the Christmas season.

"December is fast approaching, the stores will have to start looking at reducing staffing hours," he added.

"They're going to have to be caution about staffing up too because if they can't count on the numbers they usually see coming in around this time of year, they're going to be in trouble.

"A lot of people looking to spend money at the weekend took it elsewhere.

"Christmas is crucial for retailers. It's their lifeblood. If they don't make it big then, it puts a lot of stress on them for the rest of the year."

He added: "No one is winning here, the sooner the strikes are resolved, the better for everyone."

John Murphy of Siptu said it was unfortunate that workers were being affected by the strikes but insisted that there were no plans to 'target' retailers, as has been claimed by Ibec's retail representative body, Retail Ireland.

"If we wanted to hurt retailers, we could have all the strikes at the weekend. Instead, we've spread them out over the various weeks. The last thing we want is for other people to lose their jobs," he added.

Irish Independent

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