From 6am on the 2nd of April, all across the country, thousands of Dunnes Stores staff have been on strike.
MPs including Labour and Sinn Fein TDs, Gerry Adams and Mary-Lou McDonald turned out to support the workers who were on the picket line outside the St Stephen’s Green branch.
ShelfLife magazine printed an interview after they had spoken to St Stephen’s Green shop steward Michelle Rossiter on the picket line.
When she was asked if she was worried about potential redundancies that might result from the strike action, she replied that she was “worried about going back into work tomorrow”. Rossiter added that the management “don’t speak” to the trade union staff, which had made the working environment “difficult”, “awkward” and “stressful”.
She added that the workers had received “great support” from the public who being aware of the ‘Decency for Dunnes workers’ campaign had “all come out and all wished us all well”.
Rossiter said “nobody” had breached the picket line apart from what she called a “couple of strays”.
No public statement has been issued by Dunnes Stores about the dispute, but has warned staff about the possibility of layoffs and redundancies if the industrial action resulted in any harm befalling the company. The company’s management also said that it was their constitutional right to choose not to engage with a trade union.
Mandate trade union general secretary Gerry Light responded to Dunnes’ position earlier this week regarding its constitutional rights: “Nobody could argue against that, that’s black and white. But what I would say to Dunnes, as I’ve been saying to them for the last number of months, this is not about being legally forced to do something. This is about doing something because it’s the right thing to do and there’s a moral responsibility on an employer and particularly an employer such as Dunnes Stores, who has established itself over many years now, and is hugely profitable.”