Dunnes Stores staff who are members of the Mandate trade union are planning a major protest march in Dublin, penciled in for early June.
The staff, who number around 5,000, have been protesting in a campaign in relation to working hours and earnings, job security, pay, and the right to trade union representation.
Gerry Light, the assistant general secretary of Mandate, said on the issue: “You need to deal with an employer like Dunnes Stores in an unconventional way. You have to ensure you use all the means at your disposal to bring the fight forward.”
At a meeting on Sunday, Mr Light said that participants had opted not to stage further industrial action and strikes for the time being but did warn that any future action could be escalated.
“We are reviewing all of the facets of the campaign,” explained Mr Light. “It is not just about industrial action. Industrial action was a means of getting the issues onto a very public platform and we succeeded in doing that a few weeks ago.
The planned protest in Dublin is likely to involve the wider trade union movement, which has strongly backed the Dunnes staff in their campaign. The public will also be encouraged to support the protest. An exact date has yet to be set.
There is hope that planned new Government legislation could solve the issue before June. The new legislation, which could come in before the Dáil’s summer recess, would give workers greater collective bargaining rights and could address some of the issues raised by Dunnes staff.
Dunnes Stores management has yet to comment publicly on the ongoing dispute, although staff did receive a warning in February that warned of possible layoffs and redundancies if any “harm” was inflicted on the company as a result of the industrial action.