Holy Thursday strike at Dunnes Stores to hit alcohol sales
107 Dunnes Stores outlets with staff who are Mandate trade union members will be affected
11 March 2015
A one-day strike is planned for Holy Thursday on 2 April, by around 5,000 Dunnes Stores staff members who are Mandate trade union members.
The stoppage will affect 107 Dunnes Stores branches across the country where Mandate members are based, out of a total of 116 ROI stores.
Occurring the day before Good Friday when alcohol sales across the country are prohibited, the strike will hurt drinks sales.
However Mandate’s Gerry Light has maintained that the planned stoppage was “entirely stoppable”.
“Dunnes management have three weeks to engage with the union to deal with all the issues that they know are of concern to our members. They have known this for the last 18 months,” Light said. He also said that the trade union’s action would be reviewed again after 2 April, and could potentially escalate further.
Mandate said that Dunnes Stores’ management are not sticking to the terms of a collective agreement which it freely signed up to in 1996.
In November, the Labour Court said Dunnes Stores and the union had a collective agreement for the resolution of disputes in place, and urged them to meet to resolve their differences.
However, The Irish Times reports that in a letter to staff last month, the retailer said it would not enter into direct discussions with a trade union and that it was legally entitled to take such a stance.
“Dunnes Stores, similar to many substantial companies that operate in Ireland and internationally, do not engage directly with trade unions. We live in a country that has a Constitution that recognises the right of association that is to become a member of a trade union, which Dunnes Stores wholeheartedly endorses,” the letter stated.
“This right is one that the company acknowledges is every employee’s right, but in as much as the Constitution recognises that right; it also recognises that there is a right effectively of disassociation, namely that an employer is not obliged to nor must it talk or engage directly with trade unions.”
Dunnes Stores added that, at a period when the retail industry was fighting for survival, staff in the company had received two pay increases, and it had also maintained employment levels.
The Irish Times states the company claimed Mandate’s true objective was to secure rights to represent Dunnes workers at store and national level.