Mandate Trade Union has referred a claim on behalf of members in Dunnes Stores to the Labour Court after the company refused to attend a Labour Relations Commission (LRC) conciliation hearing.
Dunnes Stores employs approximately 10,000 workers in 112 stores across the Republic of Ireland. Mandate launched their Decency for Dunnes Workers Campaign in May (2014) with four key issues identified by members:
Decent hours and earnings;
Fair pay; and
Representation and right to dignity at work.
Mandate has written to the company on several occasions with detailed information on their members’ issues of concern and also seeking a meeting with management but so far the company has declined any meetings.
Among the main demands by the union’s members is for banded hour contracts which would provide secure hours and earnings for Dunnes workers. Other demands are available here.
Mandate was highly critical of Dunnes Stores in their letter of referral for a Labour Court hearing stating the union had been “continuously frustrated” in their efforts to effectively represent issues of importance to their members.
John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary, said they did not want to waste time in “an endless tennis match of correspondence between the parties”. He said the issues facing retail employees of Dunnes Stores are “far too serious for this approach”.
He explained that the actions of Dunnes management “shows a blatant disregard for the living standards of ordinary hard working retail employees”.
“I have made it abundantly clear to senior management in Dunnes Stores that we are available to discuss the issues affecting our members at their earliest convenience.”
He added, “Our union has given Dunnes Stores a direct line of communications, yet they continue to stick their heads in the sand in the hope that this will all just go away. Let me be clear; our members are not prepared to tolerate this approach by the company,” he said.
Mandate explained that Dunnes Stores has never attended an industrial relations forum unless compelled to do so by legislation, and in the absence of compelling legislation the company engages in endless and useless pieces of correspondence in an effort to frustrate their workers’ chosen representatives – Mandate Trade Union.
Mr Douglas concluded by saying he hopes Dunnes Stores senior management have enough respect for their own workforce, and indeed the Labour Court, to attend a hearing in the near future.