Friday 24 November 2017

Dunnes Stores workers welcome three per cent pay rise

Dunnes Stores (stock image)
Dunnes Stores (stock image)
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Mandate Trade Union has welcomed concession of a three per cent pay claim for Dunnes Stores workers.

This is the fourth increase in four years, culminating in a 12 per cent pay increase for almost 10,000 workers.

However, the Union said the majority of all Dunnes workers are still on low-hour contracts and this insecurity over hours needs to be addressed immediately.

Dunnes workers can have their hours slashed at the sole discretion of a local manager, potentially reducing their income from €400 per week to as low as €150 per week. This can make any pay increase somewhat irrelevant, according to the Union.

Mandate lodged a claim for a three percent pay increase on March 30 and the Labour Court had recently set a date for a hearing on December 1.

However, yesterday Dunnes management confirmed concession of the claim at in-store meetings at different locations across the country. The pay increase will be back dated to the October 3 2016.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said: “This is another massive success for the workers in Dunnes Stores who have stuck together in their Union and campaigned for better pay and working conditions for all Dunnes workers.”

He added: “With housing and rental costs increasing and motor insurance up significantly, this will go some way towards ensuring Dunnes workers are not left out of pocket.

“Importantly, this shows our campaign is still making progress,” Mr Light said, “but workers also need security of hours – which hasn’t been conceded by Dunnes management yet. Without secure hour contracts, this pay increase can become meaningless if management decide to reduce hours by two or three in a week.”

Mandate is demanding secure hour contracts in Dunnes Stores which would give workers certainty over their income. The Union is calling on all political parties and Independent representatives to legislate and make this a reality for workers in retail and other sectors of the economy where precarious work is prevalent.

Mr Light said: “Any pay increase must be implemented in conjunction with secure hour contracts to ensure workers have certainty of earnings from week to week. If Dunnes refuse to do the right thing by their workers, we will pursue this issue through political and legislative avenues.”

Mandate is currently proceeding with a case in the Labour Court for secure hour contracts for Dunnes workers under the new Industrial (Amendment) Act 2015. Mr Light said it was unfortunate that Dunnes continued their refusal to collectively bargain and find a solution to their workers’ key concerns.

“It is unfair and a blatant abuse of power for an employer like Dunnes to concede a pay increase to existing staff, and then hire more workers on lower pay who will be allocated those hours in the future. We know this has happened in the past and we want to ensure this behaviour is not allowed to continue,” said Mr Light.

He added: “The best way to ensure this pay increase is not paid for through cuts to hours is be a member of Mandate Trade Union and join the claim for secure hours that is about to be presented to the Labour Court in the near future.”

Mr Light concluded: “What our members in Dunnes are asking for is very reasonable and is afforded to all workers in Dunnes’ major competitors in the retail sector, including Tesco, Penneys, Marks & Spencer and Supervalu. They want secure hours and earnings, job security, fair pay and the right to be represented by their trade union.”

Dunnes Stores employs almost 10,000 workers in 114 stores in the Republic of Ireland.

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