This is an important struggle for workers rights across the country. Irish workers are facing increasing underemployment, short-term contracts and precarious employment terms for less and less wages.
In 2008 only 0.4% of the workforce, were considered underemployed that figure has grown to 7.8%, the second worse in the EU. More than one quarter of part time workers are currently under employed. They want more hours they want to work but are left standing and unable to plan ahead, get a loan, buy a home etc.
It is more profitable for big companies like Dunnes not to employ people full time where they would access rights to holiday pay, sick pay and other rights. Dunnes Stores can create real jobs, they do not need to have these precarious jobs, but they choose to because this type of employment maximise their profits.
The significance of this struggle goes beyond Mandate to the entire trade union movement. It is vital for all workers in Ireland that the Dunnes workers win this battle. Employers in this country need to be sent a clear message that we will not tolerate these unscrupulous work practices.
We have already seen the vindictive and punitive action taken by Dunnes Stores management in the aftermath of the April 2nd one-day strike. Around 20 strikers were sacked the following day and others have had hours shortened and been victimized in other ways. Dunnes Stores know full well the importance of this battle and will stoop to victimize their workers for standing up for their rights.
Every single worker in the country needs to stand with the Dunnes workers and show their solidarity. Please come along this Saturday to Merrion Square and march with them.