A LARGE number of Dunnes Stores workers in Ennis were on the picket line this Thursday morning, as part of the national bid to force senior management to the negotiating table.
Dunnes Stores staff nationwide are seeking secure hours and earnings; job security; fair pay; and the right to trade union representation. At the heart of the dispute is 15 hour contracts which can be spread over five days and prevent them from getting family income supplement or the dole.
The striking workers in Ennis mounting two pickets, front and back of the store, say the response from shoppers and passers-by this morning has been brilliant.
“It’s going very good and has started very well,” said a representative of the picketers who didn’t want to be named.
“There’s a brilliant response. We’re getting a lot of support from people passing by and people have come up to the entrance in their cars and driven off again,” she told The Clare Champion, amid a cacophony of blaring car horns from passing motorists.
“We have great support at the front of the building as well. The staff are very, very supportive of the action because the majority here are on the 15 hour contracts. We will be changing shifts on the pickets at one o’clock and again around six this evening,” she said.
Inside the large store early this morning the aisles were largely empty with one or two shoppers, one checkout operator and a small number of staff evident.
There are about 190 staff in Dunnes Stores in Ennis and picketers estimate that around three quarters are on the 15 hour contracts.
By Ron Kirwan