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Dunnes fired mum for club card 'misuse'

DUNNES Stores has been accused of a "hang them first" industrial relations policy for sacking a mum-of-two who admitted clocking up value club points on her loyalty card from customer transactions.

The store dismissed Chinese national Ying Liu in May 2010 for misusing her value club card while operating a till.

Ms Ying had been working in the groceries department of the Kilkenny branch of Dunnes Stores for eight years before she was fired.

Yesterday, the 37-year-old, who has Irish citizenship, took an unfair dismissal case before the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).

Dunnes ordered Ms Ying off the premises after dismissing her on May 31, 2010. A disciplinary meeting had taken place with Ms Ying on the Friday before her dismissal, however, a decision had been reached by the Monday morning, the EAT heard.

Dunnes Stores said Ms Ying had admitted "value club fraud" which it viewed as "very serious". Records showed she used her personal value club card 46 times from January to May 2010 to gain points while on the register. Customers are posted Dunnes vouchers redeemable in the store after they clock up a certain level of points.

Defence for Ms Ying, Seamus Brennan, of Lanigan and Nolan solicitors, said the disciplinary procedure had happened "at huge speed".

"At the end of the day, the Dunnes Stores style of industrial relations is 'hang them first'," he said. "It's a pretty poor industrial relations set up," he added.

Mr Brennan claimed his client was let go without a warning and was a "lamb to the slaughter".

Ms Ying said she used her loyalty card when customers allowed her.

Sandra Masterson for Dunnes Stores said: "The employee has 100pc contributed to her own dismissal."

The EAT will issue a written decision in due course.