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Support Dunnes workers on Saturday, June 6th

2 June 2015

On Saturday, June 6th Dunnes Stores workers will host a major national demonstration in Dublin in support of decent work and a living wage.


The behaviour of Dunnes Stores management and the treatment of Dunnes Stores workers in recent months has lifted the veil on the type of precarious, insecure and low paid employment that has spread through our economy like a cancer.

Thirty years ago having a job meant a route out of poverty for most people, but today one in five workers are living in poverty. The opposite side of that coin is that Dunnes’ owners have a combined wealth of €1.78 billion and the company is estimated to make €350 million in profit annually.

It’s not that Dunnes Stores can’t create decent jobs that provide workers with a living wage, it’s that they refuse to.

But this is bigger than Dunnes Stores. Workers in the retail and services sector suffer excessively from low pay and insecure work, but this type of employment has also crept into the public sector and other areas of our society. We now have teachers and nurses who don’t know what income they’ll have on a week-to-week basis, how long before this becomes standard practice in the transport industry? This is not good for our economy or for our society and it has to be stopped.

This insecurity of hours and income is being used as a disciplinary tool by unscrupulous employers. In survey of more than 1,200 Dunnes workers, 85 percent said their hours were being used as a method of control over them. How better to ensure a compliant workforce than to wave the threat of a reduction in hours to the bare minimum, spread over five days to ensure you cannot access supplementary social welfare like Family Income Supplement (FIS) or part-time job-seekers allowance?

Would you join a union or raise a grievance at work if your employer could remove your ability to feed your family? This is what Dunnes workers and tens of thousands of others are faced with every week. They are also frustrated by having their right to representation by their trade union denied. This is a basic right afforded to all workers in many other EU countries and also afforded to workers in Tesco, Penneys, Marks & Spencers, Supervalu and all of Dunnes' main competitors in Ireland.

The government tells us we’re turning the corner and that the economy is improving. Whatever recovery does occur, it cannot be based on low-pay and insecure contracts of employment. If employers continue to refuse to create decent jobs, then we must mobilise to make them. We must mobilise and tell our politicians that they must legislate for real and effective collective bargaining rights. We must also demand the full implantation of the Part Time Worker Directive which would give workers a right to avail of more hours as they become available – instead of allowing employers to create more precarious jobs, conveniently reducing headline dole figures.

We can send a strong message to employers and politicians on Saturday, June 6th, that a society built on low pay and precarious work is totally unacceptable.

TSSA fully supports the Dunnes workers campaign and ask members if they are free on Saturday June 6 to attend the national demonstration that will assemble at Merrion Square, Dublin 2 at 1pm

Support decent work. Support a living wage. Support the Dunnes Stores workers on Saturday, June 6th.

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