The St Vincent de Paul has moved to ease fears over possible industrial action at some of its Cork stores in a row over management restructuring.
Siptu has claimed that as many as three full-time positions in some SVP stores in Cork City and county could be under threat, although the charity said it did not want anyone to leave and had been in discussions with staff about changes to the management structures in some shops.
Siptu members in the Cork stores are currently balloting for protective industrial action, with Siptu representative Eddie Mullins stating that SVP had refused to discuss any proposed changes with the trade union.
It is understood that 27 staff work in the various SVP stores in Cork city and county, alongside volunteers, and that in some of these shops there are shared managers, instead of single managers.
A spokesman for SVP said the charity wanted to have single managers in all stores and it had been in discussions with staff in the affected stores for the past six weeks.
The spokesman stressed that SVP was not seeking compulsory redundancies and that it was open to anyone stepping down from a shared manager role to apply for newly created assistant manager positions.
The spokesman indicated that there was no set deadline for any decision to be made and added: “I doubt anything will be happening this side of Christmas.”
As for the possibility of industrial action at any of its shops, he said: “I would hope it would never get to that stage.”
The results of the ballot are expected early next week and Mr Mullins said there had been a lack of communication from the charity.
SVP said the dual manager situation was unique to the Cork stores and that while it would like to lengthen working hours, it would be matched by increased pay.
“The Society hopes everyone will stay, in some shape or form,” he said, adding that Cork SVP had seen a 10% increase in the number of calls for help in the run-up to the festive period.
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