Dunnes Stores workers to hold day of protest

Dunnes Stores workers who are members of the Mandate trade union are to hold a national day of protest in Dublin in early June.

Dunnes Stores workers to hold day of protest

Mandate assistant general secretary Gerry Light said they wanted to give the public an opportunity to demonstrate their support.

Mr Light said they also wanted to keep politicians focused on the need to introduce collective bargaining legislation that was going through the Dáil. More than 100 shop stewards who met yesterday decided to defer plans to escalate their strike action as part of their dispute over low-hour contracts and collective bargaining.

After a full assessment of the campaign the union that represents around 6,000 Dunnes Stores employees was instructed to make arrangements for a national day of protest.

The public, the trade union movement, and other organisations are being urged to join the protest that will be preceded by a series of local events throughout the country. Mr Light said staff would be expected to join the national protest if they are not rostered on the day. Dunnes Stores has not commented publicly on the dispute with Mandate.

Mr Light warned that any future industrial action would last more than a day but that the issue had been “parked” for the moment.

“We are reviewing all of the facets of the campaign,” said Mr Light. “It is not just about industrial action. Industrial action was a means of getting the issues onto a very public platform and we succeeded in doing that a few weeks ago.

“You need to deal with an employer like Dunnes Stores in an unconventional way. You have to ensure you use all the means at your disposal to bring the fight forward.”

Meanwhile, there are two strikes brewing in the electrical industry that could see major industrial operations brought to a standstill in the coming weeks.

The national executive council of the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union (TEEU) has decided to make an immediate 5% pay claim to employers on behalf of 5,000 members in the mechanical and electrical contracting industries.

The union said it was making the pay claim because the Government had failed to bring in legislation to replace registered employment agreements struck down by the Supreme Court in May 2013. It also condemned the Government for failing to introduce collective bargaining legislation.

TEEU general secretary Eamon Devoy said the situation had caused a massive build up of anger among workers who saw themselves excluded from the boost in profits employers were getting as the recession ended.

The union is prepared to ballot for strike action in the event their pay claim is not met. Also, the continued charging of up to €2,650 per course for electrical apprentices has led to the union calling for a one-day strike.

If it proceeds, it will mean stoppages by tens of thousands of union members in support of the apprentices.

TEEU said the fees were causing severe hardship. Talks with the Department of Education began early last year but broke down. The union has sought meetings with the employers’ group, IBEC, the Construction Industry Federation, and the Government.

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