Following a close ballot, the workers — members of Mandate trade union — voted in favour of potential strikes.
There were approximately 5,000 staff eligible to vote and of those 3,000 took part in the ballot. A union spokesman confirmed that 67% of those who participated backed action.
“The close result of this ballot is a reflection of the nervousness felt by staff members over their security of income and security of their jobs,” said Mandate assistant general secretary Gerry Light.
“Despite Dunnes Stores threatening job losses and cuts in hours, our members have taken the remarkable and very brave decision of voting in favour of industrial action.”
The union last month published a copy of a letter which, it said, Dunnes management sent to staff. In it the company said it hoped it could continue to work together with the staff members “as otherwise the inevitable consequence will be harm to the company which can only but harm its employees resulting in redundancies and layoffs”.
The management also pointed out that, at a time when the retail industry was fighting for its survival, Dunnes had given two pay increases to employees.
Mandate said its members in Dunnes Stores, which in total employees 14,000 people, want a number of issues addressed, including the implementation of banded hour contracts; “fair” pay for all workers; a review of, what the union described as, Dunnes’ “excessive” use of temporary contracts of employment; and individual and collective representational rights.