Saturday 17 March 2018

Retailers say garda deal is 'imperative' to avoid Christmas chaos

Restaurants Association of Ireland official Adrian Cummins
Restaurants Association of Ireland official Adrian Cummins

Ralph Riegel and Laura Larkin

The averted garda strike is estimated to have cost Irish businesses around €2m in precautionary private security costs, stock transfers and contingency arrangements.

Worst hit was the retail, catering and entertainment industries where operators felt they had no option but to hire in extra private security staff for the threatened hours of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) strike.

With the strike averted at 11pm on Thursday, and Garda management only suspending contingency plans at 7am yesterday, most traders were already committed to extra costs.

More severe losses nationally were avoided when traders were able to operate as normal yesterday.

Chambers of commerce insisted it was "business as usual".

However, one Dublin pub owner said he estimated the extra costs generated by the threatened strike could exceed €2m across the retail and entertainment sectors.

"Extra staff that was contracted in will have to be paid, stock that was moved will have to be moved back as well as other contingency costs which can't be avoided," he said.

Retail Excellence Ireland (REI) official Lynn Drumgoole admitted its members had "a lot of nervousness" about the strike.

"It certainly is a relief that the action was averted," she said.

The REI official said it was imperative a final agreement be hammered out so that critical Christmas trade was not threatened.

Irish Small and Medium Enterprise chief executive Neil McDonnell warned: "Unfortunately this is going to hurt if it continues."

Restaurants Association of Ireland official Adrian Cummins said it was clear, particularly in Dublin, that cost of living was an issue given current garda pay.

Irish Independent

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