Dunnes workers lodge ‘life-changing’ pay claim

Padraig Conlon 20 Jul 2022

Dunnes Stores workers today lodged a pay claim with the company seeking significant pay increases, additional annual leave days, improvements to the staff discount scheme and the creation of full-time jobs.

Citing increased living costs and the positive contribution of staff to the business during the pandemic, the workers say they should be rewarded fairly for the work they do.

“Workers all over the country are struggling right now, yet many employers, like Dunnes Stores, are capable of paying higher wages and improving conditions of employment,” said Patrick Killeen, Dunnes worker from Mayo and member of Mandate Trade Union’s Dunnes National Committee.

“Those that can pay, should pay.

“What we want is a brand new pay scale for all Dunnes Stores workers which provides a decent standard of living and rewards us for our loyalty and experience,” added Killeen.

If successful, this new pay scale would provide those on the lowest point of the pay scale with a 7.7 percent hourly pay increase and those on the top with 7.9 percent increase.

“We believe this is reasonable given inflation is currently running at more than 9 percent,” said Killeen.

Mandate’s National Coordinator Lorraine O’Brien explained:

“There are multiple pay scales in Dunnes Stores where some workers are on higher wages than others for doing the exact same job.

“We want to harmonise the pay and benefits for all Dunnes workers but we want to ensure pay equality is done in a way that brings the lowest earners up to the top.”

New pay & annual leave increments

Service Rate of pay Annual Leave

Year 1 €13.30ph 21 Days

Year 2 €14.00ph 22 Days

Year 3 €14.75ph 23 Days

Year 4 €15.50ph 24 Days

Year 5 €16.25ph 25 Days

Year 6 €17.75ph 25 Days

Year 10 €19.25ph 25 Days

Mandate say the pay claim has been formed following ‘extensive consultation’ with Dunnes workers, including a survey of more than 1600 staff.

Some of the key results include:
• 92% said if hours become available they should be offered to existing staff first.
• Nine out of ten workers agreed that additional annual leave should be provided.
• 87% said understaffing is an issue in their store.
• 79% say all workers should have access to the same incremental pay scale.
• When asked whether they felt they were being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve 65% said no, and only one in five said yes.
• 51% of post-2007 staff said they want to work additional hours.

“The allocation of hours and understaffing are serious concerns for Dunnes workers,” said Alex Homits, Dunnes worker and Mandate activist from Dublin.

“Many of us want to work longer hours because we can’t pay our bills, but the company won’t allow us, choosing to either understaff stores, which leads to huge pressure on staff, which in turn leads to health and safety concerns, or else they hire more workers on lower rates of pay,”

The workers are also seeking changes to the sick pay scheme.

Alex explained: “We’re still in the midst of a pandemic which has changed how we should look at things like sick pay.

“Dunnes workers and tens of thousands of other shop workers risked their lives and their health over the last two years and the least we should get is a decent sick pay scheme.

“Right now thousands of workers are forced to come to work with illnesses because of financial necessity.

“That’s not good for the worker, their families or our customers who often pick up the illnesses we have.

“We want an 8 week paid sick pay scheme and all staff should have access to this after their 6 month probation.”

Another item on the Dunnes workers’ pay claim is fully paid maternity and paternity leave.

“With the cost of energy, rents, house prices and everything else going up so much in recent months, it is impossible to survive without fully paid maternity leave.

“If workers don’t have enough income when on maternity or paternity leave, not only do they suffer, but their children suffer too,” said Liz Loftus, Dunnes worker from Dublin and Mandate activist.

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