Trade union says legal action against Dunnes is a possibility

9 December 2008

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Mandate has said taking legal action against Dunnes over its failure to dispel sale rumours is a possibility. Assistant general secretary Gerry Light told ShelfLife: “The Information and Consultation Act outlines that employers must provide meaningful consultation with staff on a range of issues. Dunnes’ failure to communicate basic information with staff about the possibility of a sale contradicts the spirit if not the terms of this act.”

However, while it was reported that Mandate had threatened Dunnes with this action, when asked for a possible timescale Light said it was only ever mooted as a possibility. “The possibility of legal action is an option we’re keeping open, but we never said we are definitely taking a formal case against Dunnes,” he confirmed.

However, he did reveal his intense disappointment in Dunnes’ handling of the situation. “When I contacted Dunnes in relation to this matter, it took them two weeks to send a reply saying they would not make a comment. They could have stated that on the phone within 24 hours.

“It is simply not good enough when it is entirely within their gift to dispel these rumours. It shows a scant regard for workers and a prioritisation of corporate priorities beyond human concerns.”

Light also denied that Mandate played a part in fuelling the speculation, commenting; “We have had a huge amount of calls from members on this, as well as media interest. We gave a reasonable period of reflection before commenting, as we didn’t want to form speculation on top of speculation. However we have a duty of obligation to our members to take action.”

While certain media quarters reported that Mandate was considering taking the matter before the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), Light clarified this situation. He said: “At the end of the month [November] we will go before the Labour Commission with five outstanding issues relating to standard industrial relations, which are unconnected to speculation of a sale”. At the time he said he was unable to give details of these issues before the case was heard. However he added that the five issues included matters relating to the Information and Consultation Act.



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