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JULY 2017

HOW ABOUT THEM APPLES? M a r k s & A r n ot t s Sp e n c e r S h aw s s n o t Hea PTS B Pe n n ey s BT

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Mandate wins pay increases and more... MANDATE has secured a raft of pay deals for our members employed in a number of large retail companies ranging between 2% and 4% with durations of between 12 and 24 months. It is important to note that all of the deals prioritised the payment of annual increments and the progressive development of banded hours frameworks. As a result, many members have increased their earnings in excess of the percentage headline increases. Importantly, no concessions were given for the deals won. Further pay proposals are pending in SuperValu (MOPI) and Debenhams. Following a pay claim served by the union, Tesco paid out 2% with

outstanding elements of the claim referred to a third party for adjudication. A pay claim was also lodged with Dunnes which is also likely to require a third party adjudication. Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light told Shopfloor: “These successes demonstrate clear evidence that trade union collective bargaining with employers delivers for our members. We appreciate the fact that security of earnings and income is a priority for our members hence the prioritisation of banded hours and annual increments as integral parts of any pay claim with an employer. Retail workers deserve a pay rise and better terms and conditions – and we aim to deliver.”


STRAIGHT TALKING Time to stand up and be counted

John Douglas

General Secretary Mandate Trade Union

OUR recent experiences with Dunnes Stores and Tesco has shown once again the importance of worker unity and solidarity. There can be no doubt in the case of Tesco that the company has chosen a deliberate strategy of union avoidance in an attempt to destroy the workers’ voice at work and in the medium to long term, place the company as the sole decision maker on terms and conditions of employment for all workers into the future. This hostile and alien approach is more akin to the era of Thatcherite Britain than to Ireland. It’s an approach which finds little favour among the Irish shopping public who during the recent dispute in February voted with their feet in avoiding Tesco stores as a sign of their disapproval with the company and solidarity with workers who have served them so well over the decades. The approach of Tesco, or indeed any other major retailer following the same path, is doomed to failure, causing as it does massive reputational damage to the company, as well as alienating staff, customers and the 700,000 trade union members and their families across Ireland. It’s difficult to understand the logic behind such a flawed strategy, maybe it’s corporate driven from the centre or maybe it’s personal, driven by an individual or individuals, either way it will not succeed, Ireland is a village, an injury to one neighbour is an injury to all. Of course it does not have to be like this, Mandate Trade Union and our members have over the decades shown that we are in touch with the real retail environment and we have agreed many complicated sets of negotiations which have served both workers and the company well. This is always the preferred approach of Mandate, but when one

is faced from the outset with a hostile employer, bent on destroying workers who over the decades contributed greatly to the success of Tesco, then there can only be one response – strike, which should always be the weapon of last resort but when faced with such hostile circumstances, there is no other option. Tesco workers get it, they see the bigger picture and know they are fighting for their right to be members and to be active in their union. They understand that their future and the future of decent employment in retail depends on workers having a strong voice at work – the alternative is a race to the bottom. Guaranteed banded hours, Sunday premiums, bonuses, shift premiums, sick pay, pension, pay increase etc., are all won by workers through their union, nothing is given by employers freely. Strong union density is the only leverage workers have to improve their lot. This union leverage can be used in a destructive fashion or a constructive fashion, but this depends on the approach of the employer. Unfortunately, Tesco through its attempt at union busting (Project Black) set out the path for conflict. The workers’ voice in Tesco – or indeed any employment – is not going away; it will not be intimidated or bullied, and it will not be bought with promises or favouritism. Our Mandate members in retail are prepared to face the challenges in their sector, challenges such as Brexit and online retailing, and they are capable of facing these challenges as equals in an industry they helped build. Those who attempt to demonise them and marginalise them do not see workers as equals or having entitlement to a collective voice at work rather they see workers as a means of production, a resource, a raw material to be used and exploited as they choose. The next five to 10 years in retail will be defining, none of us know what retail will look like or what the future for employment is, but one thing is certain – if retail workers in union and their employers do no work together on solutions, then Amazon, Alibaba, Ali Express etc., will destroy the traditional retail landscape as we know it today. The choice is theirs – an endless conflict with staff, customers and shareholders or a shared future for all.


Update for Tesco shop stewards A NATIONAL shop stewards meeting was held on Sunday 14th May which saw a good turnout despite the fact that Tesco had broken established practice and refused to provide paid release for those attending. This was why Mandate had to hold the meeting on a Sunday. At the meeting a number of important decisions were made:

Pre-1996 members

Attendees heard that the mediation process had reached a conclusion and that Tesco would have to return to the Labour Court or accept the reality that the pre-96 dispute was at an end and therefore over. The meeting was told Tesco was deviously using the pre-1996 dispute as its principal justification for continuing to refuse to engage with the Mandate in a normal way.

Tesco pay & benefits claim 2017

A pay claim was subsequently served on Tesco focusing on the key aspects relating to pay. These are: l A general pay increase across all hourly rates; l Pay equality across all hourly rates; and l More enhanced/secure hours along with the creation of additional full-time jobs. Mandate served a multi-faceted claim to the retailer on 24th May. Unsurprisingly the union received no response and on Thursday 22nd June Tesco announced that a 2% increase would be made to all staff excluding the pre-96 group. Mandate subsequently forwarded

its full claim to the WRC. Separately the union has also referred its claim for the 6% outstanding pay increases due to pre-96 members to the WRC.

National Membership Survey

The findings of the Tesco National Membership Survey were announced at the shop stewards meeting and will be used to bolster Mandate’s response to the continuing difficulties with the employer. Some of the positive results from the survey findings were: l 93% of those surveyed valued their union membership; l 95% are committed to maintaining and supporting the Tesco Workers Together Campaign; l 83% were familiar with their local union representatives; l 358 respondents indicated they would be willing to become more active in the union.

Share Bonus 2017

Mandate wrote to Tesco on 11th May seeking confirmation of when the bonus would be paid and how much it would be. On 17th May Tesco management – without any further reference to Mandate – advised staff that bonuses of 1.5% and 5% would be paid on 16th June. Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light commented: “This type of behaviour and non-engagement is typical of a Dunnes Store-approach to industrial relations and it’s becoming more obvious that is the type of model Tesco desire to adopt in the future.”


Vote for 4% over 22 months deal


Shopfloor is published bi-monthly by Mandate Trade Union. Mandate Head Office, O'Lehane House, 9 Cavendish Row, Dublin 1 T: 01-8746321/2/3 F: 01-8729581 W: Design & Editing: Brazier Media E: Shopfloor is edited, produced and printed by trade union labour

MANDATE members at Penneys have voted to accept a set of proposals that include a 4% pay increase over 22 months. The national ballot was counted on 30th June with 98% voting in favour on a turnout of 53%. Importantly, provision for a full review of the banded hours agreement was also contained in

the document. No concessions to the company was granted in return. Welcoming the outcome, Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light told Shopfloor: “Such an outcome can only be seen as a ringing endorsement of the work carried out by the Penneys National Negotiating Team.” SHOPFLOOR

y July 2017


TESCO has been accused of “unionbusting tactics” as part of an ongoing strategy of non-engagement over issues of importance to Mandate members working for the retailer. Mandate officials have highlighted 12 areas of contention, which they have dubbed the ‘Tesco Dirty Dozen’. These include: l Non enrolment of new workers into the union; l Non deduction of union subs in 22 stores; l Delay in payment of union subs/no details being provided; l Union activists being refused release for training and attendance at national meetings; l Selective engagement at 3rd party hearings; l Continuation of the bogus and farcical investigation/disciplinary meetings relating to pre-96 dispute; l Penalisation of members who took part in pre-96 dispute; l Restricted access for union officials; l Removal of the use of staff canteens for union meetings; l Removal of notice boards; l Restrictions placed on Shop Stewards and Local Committees; l Refusal to move on from the pre96 dispute. According to the union, Tesco’s refusal to return to constructive industrial relations engagement is counterproductive and claims it is part of a long-standing and totally unnecessary war of attrition being waged against the union and its members. Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light insisted the time had come for Mandate members at Tesco to deliver a robust response to these “unionbusting tactics”. He warned: “The hard fought for and won terms and conditions of service achieved by union members in Tesco is directly under threat with this unprecedented and pre-meditated attack on Mandate.” In June, both parties were invited to brief the Labour Court on the continuing dispute. Mandate, along with ICTU, turned up in good faith for the meeting but Tesco management refused to attend. Instead they wrote to the court outlining many of the same issues they had set out previously over 18 months. Mr Light commented: “Obviously, despite Tesco management’s physical absence at the meeting, we took the opportunity to report on many of the

Tesco accused of using union busting tactics “

If they believe we are going to stand idly by and watch T&Cs fought for by generations of Tesco workers be taken without a fight, they are sadly mistaken...

issues that have exercised our concerns over the past year and a half including non-engagement and union-busting tactics. “We advised the Court that Tesco was deviously using its auspices in an attempt to prolong the pre-96 dispute and as a consequence the broader relationship between the retailer and the union had continued to

rapidly deteriorate.” The Labour Court advised Mandate that they would reflect on the situation and subsequently a letter was sent to both parties on 21st June. The contents of the letter boiled down to three essential points: l That the previously issued Court recommendation had no current standing;

Illustration: Xoan Baltar(CC BY 2.0)

l That both parties might consider using Section 20 (2) of the 1969 IR Act to resolve remaining difficulties; and l That the parties might consider using the services of the Advisory Service of the WRC to resolve the wider relationship difficulties. Tesco has since written back to the Court and, according to the union, de-

clared that that they would not return to discuss the issue at that forum by any route. Mr Light said: “They do seem favourably disposed to consider a return to the mediation process only on the basis that Mandate presents – in Tesco’s words – ‘reasonable proposals’ for the resolution of the pre-96 dispute and that the matter cannot be referred back to the Court.” He continued: “Given the firm’s behaviour and the restrictive nature in which they want to deal with the Pre96 dispute it is now reasonable to call the dispute effectively over. “They are only trying to keep the issue alive to justify their actions of non-engagement with the union across many of the outstanding issues that cut across a number of longstanding collective agreements.” He added: “The time is fast approaching that Tesco and its senior Irish management team will have to decide whether they will comply with their obligations contained in various collective agreements or face a determined fightback on both an industrial relations and public relations front from the union and our members employed in Tesco. “If they believe we are going to stand idly by and watch the terms and conditions that were fought for by generations of Tesco workers be taken without a fight, then they are sadly mistaken.”


Pay negotiations reach conclusion PAY negotiations have now been concluded with Debenhams management and the final touches are being put to a set of proposals that will include a pay increase. Once finalised these proposals will be put to Mandate members in the coming weeks. July 2017



Lab Court recommendation for ballot Organising tips for activists THE Labour Court issued its recommendation on 4th July over Debenhams’ attempt to unilaterally remove contractually guaranteed overtime from a small group of Mandate members. The recommendation will now be put to a ballot of those members affected. Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light told Shopfloor: “Significantly the Court recommended that our members should be allowed to retain their current contractual entitlements. It stated that those affected

should only be allowed to sell the entitlements back to the company on a voluntary basis. “The Court also said these workers should also be allowed access to a voluntary redundancy package when business circumstances allowed.” He added: “We had argued that Debenhams management’s behaviour was akin to the approach adopted by the likes of Tesco over its pre-96 workers.”

A NEW-STYLE national shop stewards meeting was held on Wednesday 28th June for activists at Argos. This meeting was very successful with a large number in attendance. A Mandate source commented: “A significant part of the meeting was on effective organising techniques and we hope that the experience gained will help boost the number of members at Argos in the future.”



Tesco worker wins hours claim at Labour Court

Labour Court hearing deferred THE NEXT Labour Court hearing over Mandate’s continuing case for greater certainty around weekly hours for Dunnes workers scheduled for 4th July was deferred at the request of the firm until 2nd August. It is understood Mandate will now also refer members’ outstanding pay claim to the WRC for its consideration.

MARKS & SPENCER Votes being counted on July 14th

FOLLOWING a national ballot Mandate members in Marks and Spencer have accepted by a margin of some 98% a set of proposals which will see them receive in total a 3% pay increase over 24 months effective from February 2017. The creation of an additional 200 permanent contracts was also part of the proposals. And significantly no concessions were sought as part of the new deal. What was even more important than the emphatic endorsement of the work done by the national negotiating team was the level of turnout in the ballot which was 72%. Speaking following the ballot declaration, Assistant General Secretary, Gerry Light told Shopfloor: “Any analysis of this result and the levels of active participation of our members in the balloting process shows

that our union is alive and well in this employment. “This is the type of membership involvement that is possible if you create a culture of inclusiveness by allowing them to identify their priorities through member surveys prior to the commencement of the negotiating process proper. “It is also very rewarding for the members of the national negotiating team to have their hard work receive such a ringing endorsement from their fellow members”. Mr Light concluded by adding: “Everybody involved should be rightfully proud of the organising model that has been created in Marks and Spencer and we must ensure that we continue to strengthen it into the future in order that we can effectively protect and grow our members’ entitlements.”

Listowel store staff to be balloted


The Imperialist World Order No sound sight nor smell do we encounter Away from the lands where they bring mans thunder Propaganda, intervention, mercenary spies Where indiscriminate carnage falls from above Humanity despairs as the West spreads lies Wrapped in white helmets and perfect white doves All to uphold the Imperialist world order, They are the real terrorists Those makers of guns Raging inferno the tower's dark sparks The numbers now not breathing kept under wraps Value is exchanged and profit is extracted Life had a price, not willing to be vacated Crocodile tears hiding the deathly smiles, of a political class who's policies brought coffins All to uphold the Imperialist world order, They are the real terrorists The billionaire allies

SUPERVALU MANDATE members at Garvey’s SuperValu, Listowel, Co Kerry, are to be balloted on a set of proposals tabled following negotiations between Mandate and management. The package on offer consists of: l An increase in pay rates of 2% from 22nd May 2017 l A permanent staff discount scheme for 5% on all grocery shopping on our Real Rewards card subject to staff sign-off of the terms of


the scheme and one year’s service. The discount is in addition to the standard 1% for Real Rewards members. If accepted, the proposals will form an agreement that will run from 22nd May 2017 to 21st May 2018. It was made clear that Garvey’s SuperValu are not seeking any concessions from staff over the pay increase.

Deception, corruption, mistrust and confusion Pulpits and printers, keyboards and anchors Hymn sheets in order, the drum beats sound first Now news feeds and false reels like minions disperse To quench the unquenchable bloodsuckers thirst And all to uphold the Imperialist world order, They are the real terrorists The corporate media tycoons But wait Just wait Somethings a foul The orchestra is playing, but I don't hear a sound There's no wind in the brass And no strings for the bows Yet the orchestra is in motion fooling people in droves This is a real trick, a sinister ploy Of the ruling elite and their lackey allies All to uphold the Imperialist world order, They are the real terrorists The billionaire guys Eoghan O'Neill Eoghan O’Neill is an avid reader of Shopfloor and a trade union activist.


April is the cruellest month as number of homeless kids breaks record

By David Gibney Mandate communications officer APRIL 2017 saw the numbers of homeless children in Dublin, and nationally, reach their highest rate since records began. The figures, published by the Department of Housing, show there were 2,137 children in emergency accommodation in Dublin during the week of March 20th-26th, with a national total of 2,563 homeless children. The Dublin figure compares with 2,129 in February, and represents a 24 per cent increase on the March 2016 figure of 1,723 homeless children in the capital. Nationally, the figure compares with 2,546 in February – a 28.5 per cent increase on the 1,994 homeless children in March 2016 across the State. The Minister for Housing at the time, Simon Coveney, had reiterated his pledge that there will be no homeless child accommodated in a hotel or B&B by July 1st. We now know that is a Simon Coveney: July 1st pledge broken promise and a devastating blow to all families still consigned to living their lives in B&B’s and hotels. The record homelessness figures in April marked 11 consecutive months of homelessness growth. A spokesman for the department said that although homelessness continued to increase, “much was being done to address homelessness and secure sustainable tenancies for homeless households. For example, housing authorities assisted in more than 3,000 sustainable exits from homelessness during 2016.” This type of statement shows how devoid of credibility the Government’s housing plan is. Despite more and more people exiting homelessness, even more people are entering this horrible situation.

Picture: Dept of Health (CC BY 2.0)


Massive vote to accept 3% deal

pre-1996 issue is only a small aspect of a bigger agenda with Tesco. Non-compliance with agreements is now becoming commonplace, examples of which include the failure to attend the Labour Court and not deducting union subs. “The company have said in its various communications that the recent dispute is only about a small number of workers – however, it clearly isn’t. Failure to comply with agreements is something that affects everyone and this case is clear evidence of this.”

decision, Divisional Organiser Brendan O’Hanlon said it was “alarming” that it had been necessary to have to go to the Labour Court to get the retailer to observe an issue that had been dealt with clearly in an agreement between both parties. He continued: “The bigger issue here is about non-compliance with agreements and the serious implications that this will have for members. Over the course of the recent industrial dispute, Mandate has been very clear that the

Picture: otama (CC BY 2.0)

A MANDATE member employed by Tesco on the Northside of Dublin has been successful in a recent claim over contracted working hours. She claimed that she should be issued with a 39-hour contract because she had worked 39 hours consistently over a period of 16 weeks. Tesco and Mandate had agreed in 2006 that if members of staff worked hours in excess of their bands for 16 weeks consistently they would be issued with a contract that reflected the work that they did. While welcoming the


y July 2017


Picture: Phalinn Ooi (CC BY 2.0)

Sports Direct kingpin reportedly interested in seven Dunnes outlets Picture: John V Edwards (CC BY 3.0)

ACCORDING to a recent report in the Sunday Times, Mike Ashley of Sports Direct has approached Dunnes Stores looking to purchase up to seven of its outlets. Information on the exact locations of the stores the billionaire retailer is interested in is sketchy at the moment. However, it is reported that one of Ashley’s intended targets is the Dunnes store on North Earl Street in Dublin, sited beside his flagship Sports Direct store. It seems Ashley is openly pursuing an aggressive expansion plan in the Republic of Ireland. A BBC documentary aired in 2015 revealed an alleged litany of intolerable working conditions suffered by employees at Sports Direct. And according to a later UK parliamentary inquiry, many members of staff were fearful for their jobs on a daily basis. The 52-year-old businessman was accused by the same inquiry of building his success on a business model that treats workers “without dignity or respect.” Mandate National Coordinator Brian Forbes commented: “Sports Direct is not the only retailer that has built its success off the dubious treatment of its workforce.

Trade unions need to access members in their workplaces Tesco dispute had exposed the weak constitutional rights of unions in Ireland, Mandate President John O’Donnell told delegates at ICTU BDC in Belfast

IF UNIONS are serious about rebuilding the trade union movement, they must be able to access the workplaces and speak to workers about issues that concern them, delegates to ICTU’s BDC 2017 in Belfast were told. Mandate President John O’Donnell, moving Motion 19 calling for union access to workplaces, claimed the trade union movement was facing its biggest crisis “since the foundation of the state” with membership density levels in the private sector “now at their lowest point in decades”. He suggested there could be no turnaround in this trend without union officials being able “to have discussions with their members in the workplace”. Pointing out that unions in Australia and New Zealand could carry out inspections on workplace rights, for health and safety reasons and to consult with their members with only 24 hours notice, Mr O’Donnell told delegates: “Contrast this with Ireland. Mandate organisers have been physically removed from the car parks of companies like IKEA. Are Irish workers not as entitled to representation as workers in Australia or New Zealand?” And he said that the Tesco dispute had “exposed” how weak the constitutional rights of unions in Ireland were. “At the drop of a hat,” he told conference, “Tesco were able to stop our union from using union notice boards. We could not hold meetings or ballot members in Tesco, and inJuly 2017


Gerry Light hit out at ‘ongoing deliberate campaign’

stead had to organise meetings in hotels, community centres and other public places. “This is nothing other than an obstruction on workers having a right to their trade union. If I join a golf club, I expect to be able to play golf. If I join a trade union, I expect to be represented by my trade union.”

Flagrantly breaking

Mr O’Donnell continued: “At a time when low pay and low hour contracts are more prevalent in this country than almost any other developed country in the world, when many employers are flagrantly breaking employment legislation with impunity, at a time when inequality is higher than almost any time in our history, the fight back has to start with something as simple as the right to trade union ac-

cess.” Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light also spoke on the motion and underlined that the “first effective way” to mount a resistance to the “aggressive, hostile, anti-union agenda” was to “stand in solidarity with each other”. Thanking other unions for their support for Mandate members at Tesco, he pointed out that the fight with the retailer was “far from over” and that relations between both sides “rapidly deteriorated with each passing day”. Tesco, he told conference, had engaged in an “ongoing deliberate campaign of penalisation and victimisation” against the union and its members. Mr Light warned that if Tesco – “one of the biggest private sector employers” – achieved its objectives “the ensuing damage to this movement will be irreparable”. And he added that standing by and doing nothing “would truly be a case of managing our own demise”. Mr Light concluded: “Acting in unity our objective should be to ensure that they or others like them with similar objectives will never win and together we will use disputes such as the one in Tesco to leverage and build a stronger and more relevant movement for generations to come. “Let the call go from this conference that the Tesco Workers Together Campaign and others like it are alive and well and as union members we are all proud to play an active role in driving them to ultimate victory.”

Irish expansion? Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley

“Today in Ireland we need now more than ever to organise workers effectively against exploitation and for decent work. “Changing legislation to help protect workers is helpful but it is no substitute in this cut-throat working environment for a substantial unionbased strategy for organising workers against hostile employers in this Ireland of greed and capital.” He added: “Always remember – alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!”

Receiver liable over €29k equality award AN adjudicator has found that the Receiver is liable to pay an award for €29,000 made to a member of Mandate under Equality legislation which has been described as a “timely reminder” of the importance of the recent passing of the Protection of Employees (Collective Redundancies) Bill 2017. The member successfully brought a claim to the Equality Tribunal that she had been paid less than her male counterparts for work of equal value. On their part, management had suggested that, among other things, cellar duties had more responsibility attached to them than office work, ordering uniforms and rostering. Industrial Officer David Miskell pointed out that it would be “a long and complex process” to secure monies awarded in the judgment. He said: “We are currently assess-

ing the best way forward having regard to the provisions of company law. “It is also a timely reminder of the importance of the Protection of Employees Dave Miskell: ‘reminder’ (Collective Redundancies) Bill 2017 to ensure that workers are not left short-changed when businesses fail. “The issues that were faced by workers in the Paris Bakery, La Senza and Connolly Shoes are not isolated or have not gone away. “We continue to battle to ensure that workers receive their entitlements,” Mr Miskell added. 5


85 new ...Irish multimillionaires in 2016 and Ireland now stands

Leo Varadkar: strike plan

24th in global wealth list An individual is classified as ultrahigh net worth (UHNW) if they have $30 million (€26.7 million) in net worth. This universe grew globally by 3.5% in 2016 and those individuals increased their wealth to $27 trillion. The US had the largest UHNW population with more than 73,000 people holding over $8.7 billion. Mandate General Secretary John Douglas said: “These figures are a scandal. Ireland’s rich are becoming richer at twice the rate of the rest of Picture: Sinn Fein (CC BY 2.0)

Picture: William Murphy (CC BY 2.0)

By David Gibney Mandate communications officer MORE ultra-high net worth individuals were created in Ireland in 2016 than in Belgium, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. In the same year that saw Ireland reaching record levels of homelessness – with more than 7,000 homeless people and over 2,000 homeless children – some 85 new multimillionaires were created – an increase of 6.4% on the previous year. The results rank Ireland in 24th place of the Wealth-X’s World Ultra Wealth Report 2017, which measures the global ultra wealthy population and their total worth. The ranking places Ireland higher than a number of countries including Belgium, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

Patricia King: ill thought out

Varadkar’s strike ban plan ‘would meet strong resistance’ CONGRESS General Secretary Patricia King has strongly criticised a proposal from Leo Varadkar before he became Taoiseach to ban strikes in essential public services, insisting it would “meet strong resistance from workers and trade unions and would not be accepted.” Responding to the proposal made during Fine Gael’s recent leadership contest, Ms King said: “We have a voluntarist system of industrial relations that has served us well over the decades and this proposal would bring that to an end. “It bears all the hallmarks of an ill-thought out idea launched in the heat of an electoral contest and designed to pander to right-wing elements. It would introduce an entirely new and negative dynamic to industrial relations and would represent a significant backward step.” She added: “In addition, given that the right to strike is so fundamental to democratic societies and is recognised as such at an international level, any attack on that could well see Ireland in breach of a range of international obligations and treaties governing such freedoms.”


the world. Yet one in 10 Irish people are experiencing food poverty, so many are either homeless or facing the prospect of losing their home, and tens of thousands are languishing on hospital trolleys because they don’t have private healthcare.” He added: “Ireland is a rich country. We can afford to build houses and fund healthcare, the problem is our politicians refuse to resource public infrastructure, prioritising tax cuts for the wealthy. This has to change.”

Mandate activist Mary Medji, right, has been working in Tesco’s at Navan Shopping Centre for the past 20 years. A local union source told Shopfloor: “During that time Mary has alway sbeen a strong union woman. She was shop steward for a number of years and a union house committee member in the store. Here’s to the next 20 years!”

Member ‘unfairly dismissed’ by M&S MANDATE member Mary Lafford has been awarded €3,400 for unfair dismissal and a breach of the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Act against her former employer Marks & Spencer by the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Mary, who worked at the M&S store in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, was dismissed after it was alleged she had been in breach of the ‘reservation of sale’ policy. This is a policy that does not allow employees to reserve items to buy later that are part of a sale. Mandate Divisional Organiser Bill Kelly explained: “On the day in question Mary started work by clearing out the fitting room; however, she had to bring some stock back as they were on the wrong hangers. She then was called away. “She was dismissed by the company following an investigation into whether an item that was reduced for sale was placed in a location in the fit-

ting room where it could not be sold for five hours before purchasing the item herself at the end of her shift. “This was even though the company accepted stock had been sold from a second rail in the fitting room both before and after the incident. “During the hearing, a company witness confirmed they had not checked to see if any other employee had carried out the duty of reprocessing stock from the fitting room to the sales floor that day.” Mandate took claims on behalf of Mary under the Unfair Dismissals Act and the Minimum Notice and terms of Employment Act and won both claims. The Employment Appeals Tribunal found that Mary’s dismissal was unfair stating it was unreasonable to dismiss Mary for the reasons stated in evidence.

Argos pay discussions to start PAY talks with Argos management are set to begin at the end of July. The current agreement, which was brokered last year, will expire shortly. It follows a recent meeting of Argos shop stewards from across the country. Shop stewards discussed the results of a national membership survey and unanimously agreed an agenda for the coming discussions. Industrial Officer David Miskell told Shopfloor: “The purpose of the survey was to ensure our agenda for talks accurately reflects what is im-

portant to our members. “We look forward to constructive engagement with the company over the coming weeks and aim to conclude an acceptable agreement for all parties.” SHOPFLOOR

y July 2017


A window into the past and a call to build a better future... By Brian Forbes Mandate National Coordinator A SMALL Mandate delegation visited Belfast City Hall during the recent ICTU conference and happened upon this beautiful stained glass window. The window honours those Belfast men and women who opposed fascism in Spain and pays tribute to those men who went to fight against Franco during the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939. This wonderful reminder of those brave anti-fascist Irishmen and Irishwomen was organised by the

International Brigade Commemoration Committee and is a constant working class reminder of the 320 Irish volunteers who fought against Franco's forces. The struggles against fascism continue to this day with the growth of right-wing parties across mainstream European politics. They feed on societal divisions forced on citizens by globalisation and capitalism and they use racist rhetoric to exploit a migration crisis that is proving difficult to resolve. We, as trade unionists, must remain vigilant and be ready, willing

and able to stamp out the evil of fascism every time it rears its ugly head. To acquiesce would be a dereliction of duty towards past, present and future generations. So if you ever get the opportunity to visit Belfast City Hall, cast your eyes on this beautiful tribute and vow to continue the fight against fascism. We all must meet the challenges ahead with the same courage and determination as those brave Brigadistas and help build a better world for all.



Wording on the City Hall plaque...

With the agreement of all political parties, this window was commissioned to reflect the contribution of citizens from Belfast to the fight against fascism in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. About 320 Irish volunteers fought against Franco's forces as members of the XV International Brigade. Of these, 48 were born in Belfast and 12 died in Spain. For many the Spanish Civil War became an opportunity to stand against the growth of fascism. Men and women from all over the world answered the call to defend democracy and their working class counterparts. Northern Ireland, already impacted by political and religious divisions, was deeply affected by these events and many local people took part in the Spanish Aid Campaign, including Belfast activists Alderman Harry Midgley, Betty Sinclair, Sam Haslett and Sadie Menzies. They played a significant role at home, raising awareness to support the democratic cause abroad. "Having given all they had to give, To save from blood and fire and dust At least a hope that we can trust. We must remember them - and live"

(Taken from ‘The dead have no regrets’ by Aileen Palmer; 1939)

Picture: Public Domain

‘No Pasaran!’ banner in central Madrid, 1936

Union Representatives Introductory Course The Union Representative Introductory Training Course is for new shop stewards/union representatives. The course aims to provide information, skills and knowledge to our shop tewards/union representatives to assist them in their role in the workplace. COURSE CONTENT: • Background to Mandate • The role and responsibilities of a Shop Steward/Union Representative • Examining disciplinary/grievance procedures • Developing negotiating skills • Representing members at local level • Communication skills/solving members’ problems • Organising, Recruitment and Campaigns • Induction presentations. CERTIFICATION AND PROGRESSION: Members who successfully complete this course will obtain a Mandate certificate. They may progress to a Union Representative Advanced Course and to other relevant training courses offered by Mandate. If you are interested in this course, please contact your Mandate official or Mandate's Training Centre at 01-8369699. Email: July 2017




David Moran

John Callan

Barbara Anderson

Leaving Mandate

Leaving Mandate

Moves to Industrial Officer role

Moves to Industrial Officer role

Industrial Officer David Miskell left Mandate in July 2017 to join the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) as a full time official. David was based in our Dublin office but spent the past year and a half working from the Galway office as cover for an absent colleague. We are sure our members who worked with David and who appreciated his abilities as an excellent trade union official will join us in wishing him every success as he continues his career path within the trade union movement. Mandate’s loss is the IMO‘s gain. Good luck David from all your Mandate colleagues.

Divisional Organiser David Moran left Mandate in May 2017 to work for Arnotts as a HR manager. Arnotts is the oldest and largest department store in Dublin. David worked for years based in the Dublin office and many of his colleagues and friends were genuinely sorry to see him leave. David was an experienced and extremely capable Divisional Organiser and he will be a big loss to Mandate and the many members he ably assisted over his years as a trade union official.

Mandate is delighted to announce that following a successful internal interview process John Callan has been appointed to his new role as an Industrial Officer based in the Dublin Office. John has developed his skills from the shop floor as a highly effective shop steward in Penneys Dundalk and subsequently his temporary release under the Mandate Step Up Programme before landing a job as an organiser in Mandate three and a half years ago. The organising department is very sorry to lose such a capable organiser but in John’s own words, “I’ll always be an organiser wherever I go.” Congratulations John and good luck in your new role.

Mandate is very pleased to announce that following a successful internal interview process Barbara Anderson has been appointed to her new role as an Industrial Officer based in the Dublin Office. Barbara joined the Mandate team in 2006 and in her administrator role she worked closely with union officials and members and her dedication and determination towards members and workers’ rights is testimony to her securing this new industrial role within Mandate. Congratulations Barbara and good luck in your new role.

THERE’S A NEW WAY TO JOIN OR PAY your dues... OUR new web portal ALSO allows existing members to switch their payment method Illustration: Daniel Huntley (CC BY-SA 2.0) 8


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Too dangerous to ‘wait and see’ Matt Carthy

IMAGINE if the Government decided as a new strategy that heretofore policies and laws would be enacted first and then followed at an unspecified future date by a vote in the Dáil. Imagine if the Government refused to even hold a debate on the subject before enacting legislation insisting that it was only after it was in place for a period of time that the merits (or otherwise) could be discussed in parliament.


There’s no need to imagine. Because this is exactly the approach the Government has adopted for the ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). CETA is a wide-ranging freetrade agreement between Canada and the European Union. It will have far reaching consequences and will, I believe, undermine Irish democratic and judicial structures and will have negative implications for our economy. And the Irish government has already signed up to it. Well, actually, they have provisionally ratified it alongside all other EU governments in advance of votes in national parliaments to formally finalise the deal. When Sinn Féin TD Maurice

Quinlivan recently asked the Minister for Trade, Frances Fitzgerald, when she would facilitate a Dáil debate on this subject, she responded: “I believe it is important to wait and see the benefits of CETA taking effect. We can then have a fully informed, evidencebased debate on the value of the agreement to Ireland.” Certainly a novel approach to the democratic process, the ‘see-how-itgoes-before-voting’ approach. The reason this matters is because CETA is not a trade deal like we traditionally know them. It’s part of what the European Commission calls a series of ‘new generation trade deals’. By this they mean that the primary concern of CETA and similar agreements isn’t the reduction of tariffs, the historical purpose of trade deals. The ‘new generation’ deals are instead about the elimination of ‘nontariff barriers’. But ‘non-tariff barriers’ is just another term to describe the protections that are in place to defend the environment, the rights of workers and progressive policies of a state. Sometimes they impact a little on the profits of global corporations. That is why some of these corporations have been exerting huge pressure on governments to finds ways of bypassing these ‘barriers’. CETA is one of those ways. In response, NGOs, civil society, trade unions and consumer groups across Ireland and the EU have criticised the weak protections in the CETA text for the environment, workers’ rights, public health, food safety

and public procurement. Trade unions, environmental organisations, health advocacy groups, farming bodies, small and medium business organisations and hundreds of thousands of citizens across the EU and Canada have campaigned against CETA and similar proposed deals such as TTIP (with the United States) and Mercosur (South American countries). At the heart of CETA and similar deals is the inclusion of an Investor Court System. This is a new court only accessible to foreign (in this case Canadian) multinational corporations. It gives those corporations the right to sue national governments in Europe for compensation for the loss of expected future profits in response to government actions that impact on the corporations’ activities.

Fracking policies

In the past these types of courts have been used to target minimum wage increases, tobacco regulations, bans on fracking and public ownership policies. In essence, CETA is a corporate charter. It is part of an ideologicallydriven agenda that contends that free trade is always good and the profits of companies is more important that the rights of people or even governments. In Ireland, the Fine Gael government and their partners (or opposition, depending on the day of week) Fianna Fáil are spinning that CETA will create jobs and increase economic growth.

There is no evidence that it will do either. In fact, all indicators point to the fact that if there are to be winners it will be multinationals at the expense of indigenous Irish-owned companies. CETA will further increase inequalities and it will be the wealthiest companies and individuals who will profit most. The full implications of the deal are unknown because the Irish government has refused to carry out a detailed analysis of what it will mean, even for our most important and vulnerable indigenous sectors. Farmers, for example, are alarmed at the risks CETA and similar deals will present to Irish agriculture, especially the beef sector. The Canadian deal alone will see an additional 50 tonnes of beef entering the beef market (the TTIP and Mercosur trade deals would see even greater meat imports) but nobody can tell what level the Irish product will be distorted by this because the government hasn’t bother to assess the threat. The real irony is that these deals could actually end up damaging our position in attracting inward investment. Countries on the EU’s periphery, such as Ireland, that are highly dependent on foreign capital, risk losing out on quality jobs and sustainable investment. In some cases it will make it easier for multinationals based here (or considering coming here) to move to other EU states where, for example, labour costs are lower. On a global scale, inequality between developed and developing

CETA is a corporate charter... part of an ideologically-driven agenda that contends that free trade is always good and profits more important than the rights of people

Anti-CETA protest outside European Parliament in Strasbourg in February 2017

countries will increase further. Sinn Féin is, therefore, opposed to CETA and to the ‘new generation’ of trade deals that have the potential to lower workers' rights, environmental regulations, food safety and could potentially lead to the privatisation and further liberalisation of our public services. We also believe that the deal is unconstitutional due to the inclusion of the aforementioned Investment Court system which, in our view, is not compatible with Bunreacht na hÉireann. That the European Court of Justice has now said that new free trade agreements can only be concluded by the EU and member states acting together simply reinforces our view. That judgement backs legal opinion prepared for me by Matthias Kelly SC QC that outlines that a constitutional referendum will be required in Ireland on CETA precisely because the inclusion of the Investment Court would take powers away from the Dáil and our courts without the prior consent of the people. This deal has been eight years in its making. At no point did the Irish Government consult in democratic oversight with any national forum. Most Irish MEPs are opposed to the deal. The Seanad has voted to reject its provisional application. The Government, with the complicit support of Fianna Fáil, has carried on regardless.

Successive failures

For the record, Sinn Féin supports free trade. We value the jobs created by Foreign Direct Investment in this country even if we are frustrated by the failure of successive governments to equally support indigenous enterprise. But free trade also creates challenges. It is the job of government to assess these challenges and to engage with all stakeholders to ensure that the maximum national benefit is extracted and that risks are minimised or eliminated. The difficultly with CETA is that of those who have examined its implications, the vast majority have concluded that the risks far outweigh the benefits – not only for Ireland but for the EU as a whole and for Canada also. This is too dangerous and the implications are too serious to adopt the ‘see how it goes’ approach. The Irish people must oppose CETA. Now. Matt Carthy is Sinn Fein MEP for the Midlands–North West EU Constituency

Picture: Stop TTIP (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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1. An organising and campaigning union:

Mandate is focused on building an activist base to protect and improve employment conditions. Through better organised workplaces and the power of the collective strength, we will deliver justice for working people.

2. Modern and effective training:

Mandate provides free courses to help you learn new skills, improve existing skills and develop you and your prospective career. We negotiate agreements with employers to pay for attendance at courses and also to provide reasonable time off for employees to attend them.

3. Campaigning for success:

Mandate is a progressive campaigning union fighting on issues that really matter to our members, their families and society in general. Mandate campaigns challenge social injustice at all levels of Irish society.

4. Protection at work:

Highly trained and skilled Mandate officials provide professional advice and assistance, where appropriate, on a variety of employment issues.

5. Safety at work:

Mandate health & safety representatives are trained to minimise the risk of workplace injuries and ensure that employers meet their legal obligations at all times.

6. Better pay:

Year on year, Mandate campaigns for and wins pay rises for its members. Mandate also campaigns to close the widening gender pay gap in Irish society.

7. Legal protection:

Mandate has won significant legal compensation for members who are injured as a result of an accident at work.

8. Mandatory pensions:

Mandate has secured pension schemes with a variety of retail employers and will campaign to secure mandatory pension schemes for all members working in the private sector, partcularly those on low wages.

9.You’re less likely to be discriminated against:

Mandate has won agreements with employers on respect and dignity at work policies and procedures. Mandate will continue to campaign for tougher laws to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, age, disability or sexual orientation.

10. You’re less likely to be sacked:

Membership of Mandate protects you and strengthens your voice in your workplace.

Together we’re stronger



A passionate campaigner and a Mandate stalwart

Dedicated activist Joe McGouran takes his place on the picket line during the last Tesco stoppage

MEMBERS across the union were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing earlier this year of longtime Mandate activist Joe McGouran. Joe, who died on March 8th, was described as “a stalwart trade unionist” who had worked tirelessly for the union for two decades first as a shop steward in Penneys on Mary Street in Dublin, and then as a member of Mandate’s National Executive. He proudly represented Mandate at conferences in Ireland as well as at international conferences with UNI Global Union. Mandate General Secretary John Douglas told Shopfloor: “Joe’s energy and enthusiasm knew no bounds. He diligently represented his fellow members in Penneys and always gave 100 per cent in all of his endeavours for workers’ rights and equality in Irish society.” A large part of who Joe was can be

traced back to his childhood as a street trader, and he continued that proud heritage after he finished working in Penneys. Mr Douglas said: “Joe strongly believed in the power of the collective, both in industrial campaigning but also in political campaigning. In the weeks before he died Joe gave up most of his spare time to help on the Tesco picket lines on Baggot Street where his enthusiasm captured the imagination of the Tesco members as well as members of the public in equal measure. “He also spent time actively promoting the Decency for Dunnes Workers’ campaign.” A passionate supporter of LGBT rights and equal marriage, Joe also campaigned for a free Palestine and took part in the Clean Clothes Campaign and the drive to Repeal the 8th amendment. Additionally, he was a

volunteer steward and activist with the Right2Water and Right2Change campaigns, as well as a supporter of the Home Sweet Home campaign. Mr Douglas explained: “If there was a demonstration for fairness and equality on any issue, you could be sure that Joe would be there waving his Mandate flag. “While everybody in Mandate is devastated by Joe’s sudden passing on March 8th – International Women’s Day – in the future when we think of women’s equality, we will always remember the contribution Joe, our brother and our comrade, gave to equality for women and all in Irish society.” He said Mandate had expressed its deepest condolences to Joe’s family and friends, adding, “Joe McGouran: we are all the better for knowing you and the world is better for having had you.” SHOPFLOOR

y July 2017


Future-proofing the world of work Ged Nash

THE Labour Party is carrying out a major project on the ‘Future of Work’ and we are asking you for your views and opinions. To find out more about this initiative, please log on to and be sure to take the opportunity to fill in the survey so we can have your views on what the workplace of the future should look like. The new collective bargaining system I introduce alongside increases to the National Minimum Wage, the establishment of the Low Pay Commission and the operation of two of the new Joint Labour Committees in security and contract cleaning are making a real difference to tens of thousands of working people. So too will the Labour Party’s Competition (Amendment) Act 2017 (the only Bill from the opposition to become law in this ‘do nothing’ Dáil) which has been enacted in recent weeks and which provides a legal route to collective bargaining for very vulnerable self-employed workers across Ireland. But in a period of great social and economic flux, we need to prepare for the future and it is crucial that working people and our trade unions take the lead in mapping out the future of the work in Ireland.

Is there a Minimum Wage on this planet?

It is no good to simply say: let’s see how this rolls out and come back to me in 20 years time! We need to take responsibility ourselves for shaping the future and we need to do it now...

Illustration: Public Domain

The ‘rise of the robots’ is displacing jobs across the globe at a rate of knots. The worst global collapse since the Wall Street Crash of 1929 has seen wages stagnate with a decade of lost investment and opportunity hit-

ting younger people particularly hard. Game-changing technologies can make our lives better, but does this come at a cost? With the share of GDP to labour in steep decline for decades now, and

with obscene levels of wealth concentrated in the hands of “the 1%”, how can we arrest this decline and tackle this trend which has exacerbated global inequality and damaged social cohesion? How do we replace the jobs that may become obsolete with decent jobs into the future? It is no good to simply say: let’s see how this rolls out and come back to me in 20 years time! We need to take responsibility ourselves for shaping the future and we need to do it now. It was towards Labour parties and the trade union movement that working people looked to manage the transition from agrarian societies to industrial societies in the context of the first Industrial Revolution. And it is up to Labour and the trade union movement to show the same vision, radicalism and leadership to

manage the transition to a digital economy where the benefits and opportunities must be available to the many and not just the few. In doing so, we must commit to: 1. A new deal for working people. This should involve the further enhancing of collective bargaining rights in Ireland, giving trade unions more tools to organise and a massive investment programme in lifelong learning, apprenticeships and education. 2. A new national industrial strategy which has the principle of decent jobs and decent lives at its heart and which focuses on new opportunities for Ireland in terms of financial technology, green tech, food, Ireland as a retail destination, advance manufacturing and other areas where we have the skills and the talent available to create the sustainable jobs of the future 3. A new mission to eliminate inequality and poverty which means valuing the dignity of work by delivering a real living wage, closing the gender pay gap and reforming the welfare and taxation systems as the world of work continues to change We have held a series of public meetings across Dublin on this area of critical concern for working people and we will be rolling out more meetings across the country on this defining project in the coming months. Don’t leave it to others to shape the future of work in Ireland. Get involved and have your say. Senator Ged Nash is the Labour Party Spokesperson on Workers’ Rights & Equality



OVER the last few years we have seen case after case of workers frozen out of their entitlements, the most highprofile example being that of Clerys. On 12th June 2015, its 130-strong workforce was sacked without notice and another 330 workers employed by the store's concession outlets were locked out of their jobs and left facing an equally uncertain future. Clerys was bought by Natrium some time between midnight and 1.15 am on that day and was declared insolvent that afternoon. The workers did not receive the statutory redundancy lump sum from the new owners and nor were they paid monies owed in lieu of redundancy and holiday pay. In fact, many of them found out through social media that their jobs

July 2017


David Cullinane

Tactical insolvencies are fraud and amount to theft – theft of workers' pay & pensions, theft of goods & services from other companies and the theft of revenue from the State

had been lost rather than hearing it from the company. The State was obliged to pay those debts under the insolvency payment scheme. A company that made tens of millions of euro was away on its toes and the workers and the State were left high and dry. In the wake of the Clerys closure, a report was written and my bill will legislative support to the main recommendations of that report. The majority of employers in the State act responsibly and were as horrified as everyone else were when they heard of the tactical insolvency that took place in Clerys. That makes it all the more urgent for action to be taken. Not only did the workers suffer but taxpayers also suffered because they had to pick up the tab, as do compa-

Picture: Aapo Haapanen (CC BY 2.0)

Time to end the fraud of tactical insolvencies nies when situations such as this one emerge. On 29th June 2017 the Dáil agreed to allow a Sinn Féin bill to proceed to committee that will make tactical insolvencies a fraud on employees. The bill will provide protection for employees in collective redundancy cases where the employer is insolvent,

and it will give power to the High Court to return assets which have been improperly transferred and give preferential status to employees. Tactical insolvencies are fraud and amount to theft – the theft of workers' pay and pensions, the theft of goods and services from other companies and the theft of revenue from the State. At present, all of this is perfectly legal but of course we know it is wrong and consequently there is a responsibility on politicians as legislators to fix this problem. I have endeavoured to do so and hopefully we can get the bill across the finishing line before we are faced with another Clerys, Vita Cortex, La Senza or Lagan Brick. David Cullinane is Sinn Féin TD for Waterford 11


Brian Forbes LAST YEAR’S annual Cherishing All Equally report by TASC (Think-tank for Action on Social Change) provided robust empirical evidence that Ireland was a deeply unequal country and that economic inequality continued to worsen despite claims by some politicos and commentators that we were beginning to move into economic recovery mode. So fast forward to this year’s newly-launched Cherishing All Equally report co-authored by TASC Director James Wickham and Dr Rory Hearne. “Surprise Surprise,” as Cilla Black used to so eloquently say, might best sarcastically sum up the continuation of more of the same types of societal inequality. This latest report features further evidence of rising inequality in Ireland which is being driven by a myriad of mitigating factors too numerous to mention in this brief article but evidenced strongly in the report. I’d strongly contend that many of these inequality indicators are as a direct result of right-wing conservative Irish Government policies that prioritise the impotent failed capitalist ideology of serving the wealthy elite over the societal needs of the Irish people.

Our children will be next...

on the Irish Welfare State. Our Irish Welfare State is effectively subsiding flexibility and low wages for shareholder advantage in ultra-greedy and increasingly profitable multi-national companies. Not only is the Irish employment rate relatively low but a relatively high proportion of those at work are on low earnings. The TASCFEPS report highlights the obvious important solution that higher wages for those at the lower earnings threshold and indeed in the middle of the earnings distribution is essential towards tackling economic inequality in Ireland today. Of course, raising wages alone will not in itself deal with inequality and the one silver bullet solution to tackle the growing monster of inequality in Ireland today will inevitably fail. The unequal distribution of material resources within Irish society continues to be largely ignored by the

This is effectively class warfare and as activists and trade unionists it remains our duty to challenge at every opportunity the devastating social implications of policies |that continue to benefit the incomes of the top 10% (especially the top 1%)...

Past mistakes


political class and they daily turn a blind eye to the widening economic gaps opening up across society and our communities. This is effectively class warfare and as activists and trade unionists it remains our duty to challenge at every opportunity the devastating social implications of Government policies that continue to benefit the incomes of the top 10% (especially the top 1%), while wages have largely stagnated creating even more opportuniPicture: Big Dubya (CC BY 2.0)

This important 2017 publication was launched at the recent annual conference of TASC – FEPS entitled Solid Foundations? Economic Inequality and the Housing Crisis. Given the concerning trend towards increasing inequality and the failure to learn from past mistakes, it is abundantly clear that national policies and national states really do matter. Policy action to alleviate rising inequality can and should be taken at a national level and don’t let anyone try to tell you that those alternative and transformative policies do not exist because they clearly do. Rising inequality results from political choices and political decisions favouring the wealthy. It is not enough to blame ‘Globalisation’ or ‘Capitalism’ without challenging the national policies that perpetrate the suffering and misery inflicted on so many of our citizens. The Irish trade union movement, both public and private sectors, has a significant and vitally important role in challenging these political decision makers and legislators. Frankly, in my humble opinion, we aren’t collectively doing nearly as well as we should be in defence of our fellow citizens. Yes, trade unions operate politically but too often with narrow self-interest and not in pursuit of the greater good for all. As a movement, we too often fail to ‘Cherish All Equally’ by not acting collectively in the interests of wider society but in simply serving the narrow interests of our individual groups of union members. There are many key policy decisions that could be taken – but aren’t

– to tackle inequality including decent pay rises, social and affordable housing, a national health service free at the point of need, ending zero hour contracts and precarious work as well as establishing decent affordable childcare, to name but a few.


Power play: Manics lead singer James Dean Bradfield in concert

Picture: Drew de F Fawkes (CC BY 2.0)

The Irish workforce is one of the most “flexible” in Europe and this increasing “flexibility” is imposed by major profitable multi-nationals through driving down wages levels and terms and conditions for workers as well as maintaining a subservient workforce grateful for the hours and the pay from the so-called master’s table. The scourge of increased precarious employment and the proliferation of this continuing low wage ideology is placing a massive burden

ties for precarious work and an increasingly unequal Ireland. If Ireland continues on its ‘boom and bust’ path of maintaining a low tax regime, of subsidising low pay and precarious work and of pandering to landlords and developers then it may be that people will begin to awaken from their slumber ready to challenge Government policies that perpetuate increasing inequality and poverty. The danger is, it could be too late and there’ll be nothing left to take back as they’ll have privatised everything or given it away. To paraphrase an auld Manic Street Preachers’ song – ‘If we tolerate this, our children will be next!’ Check out the full report on the TASC website at SHOPFLOOR

y July 2017


Vote against extending Sunday trading hours SHOPWORKERS in Belfast are celebrating a victory after Belfast City councillors voted against extending Sunday trading hours in the city. The May 17 vote by the council’s Strategic Policy & Resources Committee came after councillors heard evidence from Mandate’s sister union Usdaw. The committee will recommend there is no change to current opening hours in a full meeting of the council. Representatives of the tourist industry and


strong message for the full council to drop the proposal to open large stores for longer on Sundays. “The current Sunday trading arrangements are a fair compromise, which has worked well for 20 years, and gives everyone a little bit of what they want. Retailers can trade, customers can shop, staff can work; while Sunday remains a special day, different to other days, and shopworkers can spend some time with their family.”

chamber of commerce, who were also at the meeting, had been lobbying for longer shop opening times. Welcoming the move, Usdaw’s Deputy General Secretary Paddy Lillis said: “We are delighted that the committee listened to our evidence-based case and backed our members who remain absolutely opposed to extended Sunday trading. “Councillors on the committee overwhelmingly supported our position, which is a very

Picture: National Library of Ireland

TRADE union history buffs take note. We’re trying to identify some of the delegates in this picture of a meeting of the Irish Trades Union Congress in Waterford in 1918. The picture, from the National Library of Ireland archives, featured recently on the NLI’s Flickr site. [] A visitor to the site was able to definitively identify one of the delegates, then ITUC president William O’Brien. He is the pictured seated in the centre of the picture dressed in a lighter-coloured suit. Another visitor spotted that the picture was taken on the steps of the old Imperial Hotel in the town. The August 6, 1918 edition of the Irish Examiner fills in some detail about the event: “The twenty-fourth annual Irish Trades Union Congress was opened in the City Hall, Waterford, yesterday, under most encouraging and happy circumstances. There was a very large and representative attendance, about 240 delegates from every part of the country being present. “The spacious hall was filled to its utmost capacity, and the proceedings were characterised by unanimity and enthusiasm. A civic welcome was extended to the delegates by Councillor Kirwan, locum tenens for the

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Mayor, who was absent owing to illness, and local speakers also extended greetings to the delegates. The Congress will occupy three days.” The National Library would be delighted to




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hear from anybody with further information about this photograph. You can comment on the photograph itself at or email

Thomas Pringle IN MY VIEW...

Why vilifying those receiving social welfare vilifies us all...

NEARLY one million people in Ireland claim social welfare – all due to a variety of reasons and different circumstances. Our social net is a vital part of the functioning of the State and should, if guarded from constant State cuts, provide a protective barrier for people from the cycle of poverty while ensuring an individual has access to services which enable them to live a life of dignity. In the last issue of Shopfloor I set out in an article how the idea of a Basic Income could further facilitate this and in one sense our social welfare system is the closest thing we have to realising that. Varadkar’s campaign against welfare cheats, as he calls it, was smartly worded so that our eye would read ‘Welfare Cheats Cheat Us All’ and this was for a reason. He wanted to make a strong contrast between the social welfare recipient and the person who ‘gets up early in the morning’ which he later clarified was directed at people who go to work every day. The irony of it all is – thanks to the economic policies vigorously pursued by Fine Gael – social welfare supports have never been more important in protecting workers from the threat of poverty. So those ‘get-up-early’ types are also the people he is negatively targeting in his recent public campaign. Contrary to the campaign message, not everyone on social welfare is a cheat, and not everyone who works has a stable income. Fine Gael has embraced an economic policy which has eroded the earning capacity of many workers in this State while there has been a race to the bottom in the terms and conditions of people in low to middle income jobs. In my constituency of Donegal, social welfare transfers are the highest in the country due to the fact that many people engage in seasonal work including fishing and tourism, or the hospitality sector. Farm Assist, Subsidiary Employment, intermittent Jobseekers and income disregards are vitally important social welfare features for most working families particularly as they enter and exit employment throughout the year. The fact of the matter is that the number of workers claiming social welfare payments is not a symptom of a dysfunctional social welfare system, but rather a dysfunctional economy. A living wage based on the principles of equal pay for equal work, or a basic income pledge, would better solve the dysfunction in our economy which for workers has become more and more unstable as we exit the economic crisis. Regressive campaign messages like the one we are still witnessing only serve to further divide our society into the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, pitting one person against the other in a black and white context. This is the only way Fine Gael can justify their economic policies as blame is shifted to those who are too vulnerable to protect themselves from negative campaigns like these. Where is the compassion and solidarity we are all worthy of receiving regardless of our social status or background? We must be careful before we follow suit with a divisive society facing America today. Thomas Pringle is Independent TD for Donegal 13

Gerry Light VIEW

from the

Assistant General Secretary Mandate Trade Union



Pay restoration at Anthony Ryan’s dept store in Galway

Beware the bearer of good news...

GOVERNMENT sources are only too willing on a regular basis to link the uplift in economic circumstances to the record low levels of unemployment that now exist. While we must welcome any meaningful reduction in the numbers of those without a job, a degree of caution must also be exercised in examining the truth behind the figures. Workers who are newly employed – and indeed those who have been in a job for some time – will tell you that their experience is of little growth in average earnings with many of them being worse off. In fact, a lot of the recently created jobs are of such bad quality and precarious in nature it is no wonder that during a time of such significant job growth we have also witnessed a fall to the exchequer in income tax. The blatant truth is that vast swathes of these jobs do not pay enough for the workers concerned to break through the minimum earning levels that require them to pay tax and make a financial contribution to the society in which they live. The opposite in fact is the case with many low paid workers having to turn to the State for income subsidies in order to allow them and their dependents make ends meet. Spending power is a phrase that has been commonly used down the years. From a worker’s perspective far too often the growth or decline in this power has been narrowly defined by improvements in earning power achieved mainly through wage increases or tax adjustments. Of course this simplistic analysis does not account for the impact on a worker’s disposable income arising from the dramatic increase in basic living costs such as housing/rent, fuel, refuse collection, health care, transport, clothing and food.

Many of the new jobs being created also deny workers access to basic employment rights with the prevalence of bogus self-employment, agency working and zero hour contracts rapidly increasing the spiral to the bottom. It is becoming increasingly evident for many that a job does not provide a way out of poverty. All this, it should be noted, is happening at a time when more employers are calling for greater flexibility and a lessening of constraints on doing business. Among such demands is the removal or significant reductions in Sunday and Public Holiday premium rates. Make no mistake about it more concessions of so-called flexibilities will leave workers worse off. Some businesses have even fought for – and won – more favourable treatment of their profits. Building an economic recovery on this type of a labour market could be every bit as perilous as the model that we used to achieve economic growth in the past. The reality of the current model is that any decline in economic growth will see a more rapid and significant loss of employment among those who are low paid. This will leave society, and not business, to pick up the costs. It is an indisputable fact that the recent growth in employment numbers has seen a corresponding decline in working standards. If some had their way we would see an acceleration in a more favourable treatment of corporate tax rates, a winding down of the welfare state and greater expansion of low paid precarious jobs. There are a number of ways that the trade union movement can stand firm and defeat exploitative employers that display such bullish greed. First, we must examine the ways and means that we reach out and make ourselves relevant to this new type of worker. Second, instead of fewer employment regulations we must fight for more and better labour laws that result in greater security and not exploitation for workers employed in these new ways of work. Finally we must continuously lobby and campaign to make sure that our legislators never seek to choose the interests of the manipulative greedy market over the interests of the citizens that they were elected to serve. Remember at the ballot box we are all equal and we must always ensure that we never diminish or relinquish the power that this important equality of esteem affords.


AN AGREEMENT on pay and working hours has been accepted by Mandate members at Anthony Ryan’s department store in Galway. The deal will see an across-theboard 2% pay rise, the unfreezing of increments and the introduction of contracts of employment that accurately reflect the work being done. Industrial Officer David Miskell

said: “The agreement has achieved pay increases for staff and protects earnings by introducing contracts of employment with guarantees of hours.” He added: “The agreement seeks to address some legacy issues in relation to pay and allows us to move forward.”

WH Smith proposals put to members MANDATE members at WH Smith in Dublin Airport are currently being balloted on a set of proposals that includes a 2.5% pay rise and which regularises a number of different pay rates for staff. In addition to the pay aspects of the agreement both parties have made commitments to enter into meaning-

MOPI pay talks PAY negotiations have now been completed at MOPI and a set of proposals including a pay increase are being finalised. These proposals will be put to our members over the coming weeks. Members of the union at MOPI had been surveyed to gauge their priorities before pay talks started.

Increments and Xmas bonus back at Caulfields MANDATE members at Caulfields have accepted a set of proposals that will see the unfreezing of increments and the re-establishment of the Christmas bonus. It is understood talks on a general pay increase will start in October.

ful talks with a view to formulating an appropriate agreement for collective agreement within which future engagement can take place. Divisional Organiser Brendan O’Hanlon told Shopfloor: “The agreement is now before our members for their consideration and we will await the outcome of that process.”

Shaws staff get 2% over 18 months FOLLOWING detailed consultations under the auspices of the WRC, a set of proposals was put to members in Shaws which were accepted in April 2017. The package includes a 2% pay increase effective from 1st September 2016 for a period of 18 months. Also included is incremental progression for an additional 28 Mandate members. Divisional Organiser Betty Dillon said:“ In return our members agreed to accept the replacement of paper payslips by electronic payslips and usual co-operation with normal ongoing change in the business.” SHOPFLOOR

y July 2017


July 2017







Tra Sc Na wi Do su wo of sto tio mu of



y July 2017


ade union legend Arthur cargill, former leader of the ational Union of Mineworkers, ith General Secretary John ouglas. Arthur showed his upport for striking Tesco orkers by visiting a number f picket lines during the oppages. It was a demonstraon of solidarity that was uch appreciated by members f the union...

July 2017







y July 2017


Illustration: Daniel Huntley (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A people’s bank that works for us By Eugene McCartan THE former Fine Gael, Finance Minister Michael Noonan sold off a 28.7 per cent stake in AIB. The reason given was that the bank share price was high and that the sale would raise €3.4 billion and be used to pay off some of the national debt. The €3.4 billion amounts to 1% of the national debt. AIB made a profit in 2016 of just under €2 billion, and that is likely to increase in the coming years. It has already paid dividends to the state of €6.6 billion. The bank still owes the state about €14 billion, which, going on the dividends and profit it is making, will be paid off sooner rather than later; and so we would have had a very profitable national bank owned by the state – that is, by you and me. We have to use the €3.4 billion raised from these share sales to bring down the debt because the EU says that is what we are only allowed to do. Our ever so obliging and servile Government’s relationship to the European Union knows no limits. They have and will always put the interests of the European Union first before the interests of the Irish people. The Government currently has a 99.9% ownership (up until the cur-

July 2017


rent sale) of Allied Irish Banks following from the near collapse of the bank due to reckless lending to property speculators and developers. Between 2009 and 2011 the Irish state pumped €21 billion into rescuing AIB – that is money taken from working people, taken from their pensions, social welfare payments, increased taxes and savage cuts in public services. This was the biggest bailout of an Irish bank still trading during the major financial collapse of 2008/2009. A crisis of the system that is imposed upon us.

Bomb going off

Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank at the time, threatened Michael Noonan that a financial “bomb would go off in Dublin” if he did so. The sale of the 25% stake was one of the largest “initial public offering” (IPO) in Europe this year and one of the largest in the UK Main Market over the last 20 years. Shares were bought by corporate institutions, individuals. The State is selling AIB in batches of 25 per cent to anyone who has a minimum of €10,000 to invest. The average amount purchased by private investors was €46,000 in this first sales batch.

Yes, the sort of money you have lying around in a drawer after working on zero hour contracts or a job on the minimum wage. In other words, once again the rich stand to gain from the suffering and hardship imposed upon working people. Why should we allow the sale of AIB now that it is making profits because these are profits that could and should be re-invested back into our communities from whence it came. We need a state-owned bank for a number of clear and sensible reasons. Firstly, workers need to remember that all wealth created within society comes from the hand of labour from workers. All work is skilled, it just depends upon the degree of skills required. We produce all wealth but those who own and benefit from our labour are those who own the means of production and the reproduction of wealth banks and finance houses. Banks, like every other business and institution, along with the top brass managers are motivated by one thing and one thing only that is profit and the more of it the better. It does not matter to them where they can make profits as long as they make it, and that the shareholders get their yearly dividend and they get fat

bonuses. But a state-owned bank – which is accountable to the people and was responsible for ensuring the common good and then investment priorities – would be different. It would focus capital spending (money) in areas most needed by the people: building public housing, socially-needed infrastructure projects such as properly-funded public transport, schools and hospitals. Not because they are profitable but because they are socially necessary for the building of a decent human environment for us all to live in.

Natural resources

A state bank could target capital (money) at local job creation, developing our fishing industry or developing our rich natural resources. All past and current Irish governments tell us we have to hand over all our valuable natural resources to transnational corporations because we have no money to develop them ourselves. With a state bank we would have the money. Also people could move whatever savings they have into a state bank, secure in the belief that it is safe and secure, that property speculators, grubby landlords or fly-by-night businesses could not get their hands on it. That it would be safe when the next

economic and financial crash comes – as it will. The current and growing housing and property bubble will burst and the blow back and consequence will be even greater than when the previous bubble burst had upon us all. The trade union movement needs to stop any further sale of the state’s control over AIB. It is essential for democracy, it is essential for peoplecentred economic and social development. The EU should not decide our fate, but rather we need to become masters in our own country, to end the subservience to the EU, to end the domination of big corporate interest. We have to look more closely at the power structures that impact and control our lives. In whose interests does the state – both at national and at local level – serve? Who do the main parties – Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the minor establishment parties – serve? Do they serve working people, the majority, or the vested interests or a minority of wealthy individuals and big business interests? No, we need a state bank to invest in the common good and not for the enrichment of the few. Eugene McCartan is General Secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland 19


Tom Healy

‘WHAT is the concept of market failure and give an example’ was once asked in a school economics exam. Here is a tip if you are studying economics yourself: take housing in Ireland as an example. It ticks lots of boxes: l A chronic under-supply of housing at current cost, credit, demand and policy conditions. l A chronic failure on the part of some policymakers and politicians to recognise and admit the scale of the problem. l A chronic failure on the part of many to see a connection between policies pursued consistently over recent decades and the current housing crisis. l A chronic failure to tackle powerful vested interests that link in land ownership and speculation, corporate balance sheets and the private developer agenda.

A key to solving the housing crisis? ost C n a e Europ del o M l a Rent

Market failure

The surprising aspect of all this, perhaps, is that such a market failure is bad for capitalism – at least in Ireland (that is, apart from the fact that it impacts on hundreds of thousands of workers and their families who struggle to save for a deposit or meet rising rents year on year). It is bad for capitalism because, whether we like it or not, under-investment in infrastructure, including affordable accommodation, is a significant consideration in terms of competitiveness for valuable skills and inward investment. We pay a price for the mess that is the housing crisis – not least in the Greater Dublin area where private rented accommodation is at an all-time premium because of scarcity. And when it comes to bargaining over wages (whether in the private or public sectors) housing matters greatly. Get housing costs and supply under control and it is possible to have a real and evidence-informed debate on pay recovery or the living wage as the case may be. It is not that policymakers and officials do not care about housing as a social need. It is, rather, a case of not being able to see the situation for what it is: a crisis of supply due to a


model built on private profit and exacerbated by land speculation. In a recent research paper published by the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI), we have made the case for a radical and new departure through the establishment of what we term a European Cost Rental Model (ECRM). The idea is simple enough and is used in some other European countries including Austria. It involves using a public company or association to undertake the building of high-quality housing, and renting them out at levels high enough to cover costs and low enough to be affordable for most people (combined, where appropriate) with public subsidies to households below a certain income threshold. To get up and running a combination of already existing financial sources such as state equity in the ‘pillar’ banks could be put to productive use. Might a future Minister for Finance and Taoiseach be so bold as to seek the forgiveness of the European Commission for doing what the Commission has already urged the Irish Government to do: deal with the supply problem and stop further

stimulating house prices by tax breaks to first-time buyers? Might Ireland follow the examples of Germany, France and Spain at various times and in various ways to apply the ‘fiscal rules’ more rationally and flexibly? Are rules not made for humanity and not the other way round? To develop such a model would take time and resources and the gains might not be fully apparent for many years. But, such a model could begin to have an immediate impact not only in terms of meeting ever-rising housing demand but in shifting the supply curve of accommodation with the result of putting a natural market break on the incessant upward pressure on market rents. While rent control is necessary, in my opinion, to deal with the scale of the housing emergency and affordability right now it does not solve the underlying problem of supply which is causing an escalation in rents over recent times. But how could we afford a brave new world of cost-rental? Surely it would take billions of euro of investment which the Government does not have (fiscal space is now close to the

area around which a finite number of angels one could fit on an economist’s pin)? A key aspect of cost-rental not appreciated in this part of the world is that it breaks with traditional UK/Ireland thinking and practice because: l It facilitates the growth of a large-scale, affordable, long-term and secure rental sector (in other words renting for the rest of one’s life is quite OK and is not a sign of irresponsibility or social failure). l It does not treat ‘social housing’ as a residual which goes, exclusively, to some social groups housed, educated and socialised in separate locations. l It involves significant levels of capital outlay and activity that are funded by long-term streams of commercial rental income. If all of this sounds radical – it does. However, it is far from pie-in-the-sky as it is very mainstream in many parts of Europe. What about local authorities? There is no reason why local authorities could not continue their lead role in social housing provision. It might be possible for local authorities to avail of significant leasing arrangements with our proposed Housing Company of Ireland (see Ireland’s Housing Emergency: time for a game changer). Local authorities have been starved of funding for capital investment over many decades (but catastrophically in the last decade). To add to local government woes, various ‘populist’ decisions dating back to the abolition of domestic rates in 1978 have robbed local authorities over a stable and property-based source of revenue. The current model and approach

to funding and provision are simply not working. Local authorities need a significant boost in capital funding and also incapacity to coordinate land management, public services provision and planning of new communities as well as the adaptation of existing spaces, especially in urban areas. However, a social housing initiative led by the local authorities and linked in with a European Cost Rental Model operated by a single, national commercial agency (The Housing Company of Ireland) could begin to make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people who have suffered disproportionately from the fallout of the propertylender-developer crash of 20082013.

Traditional thinking

Recent announcements of an ambitious plan to roll out public-private partnerships and use publicly-owned land in the bargain fit with the traditional thinking, assumptions and interests of the (failed) UK/Ireland model of housing development. Even if PPPs could relieve shortterm pressure on public finances (a claim which has not been usually supported by convincing evidence and facts), they fail to come to grips with the wider role of local authorities and communities in coordinating the many complex aspects of creating sustainable and ‘liveable’ new homes in new community settings. Moreover, many PPPs (as with PFIs in the UK) have had a disastrous history and record in terms of delivering ‘value for money’ to ‘the Taxpayer’ not least in the domain of social housing. At least one big advantage of ECRM over PPPs is that the latter are much more susceptible to the building industry business cycle while a costrental model can be largely insulated from short-term fluctuations in public funding and credit conditions. l Think long-term l Borrow long-term and, if possible, off balance sheet l Cover your costs quickly l Prioritise those who are most vulnerable to homelessness l Plan at the national level and deliver locally l Diversify the market and curb the dominance of a developer-led sector Will we learn before it is too late again? Tom Healy is Director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute


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Course Dates



Closing date

Trade Union Representation QQI Level 5

September 11/12/13

3 days



Union Representative Introductory

September 18/19/20

3 days

OTC Dublin


Union Representative Introductory

September 25/26/27

3 days



Trade Union Representative QQI Level 5

October 17/18/19

3 days

OTC Dublin


Safety Representation for Elected Reps QQI 5

October 2/3/4/5/6

5 days

OTC Dublin


Training & Development 1

October 9/10/11/12/13

5 days

OTC Dublin


Union Representative Introductory

October 16/17/18

3 days

OTC Dublin


Trade Union Representation QQI Level 5

November 6/7/8

3 days

OTC Dublin


Union Representative Advanced Senior

November 13/14/15

3 days

OTC Dublin


Union Representative Introductory

November 20/21/22

3 days

OTC Dublin


If you are interested in attending any of these courses, please contact your Mandate Union Official or Mandate Organising & Training Centre on 01-8369699. OTC = Mandate Organising & Training Centre. Please note venue dates may vary.

ABOVE: Trade Union Rep QQI Level 5, held in Cork – Back row left to right: Ian O’Mahony, M&S Cork; Ciara Morley, DAA Cork; Eimear Donohoe, Penneys Cork; Audrey Mahon, Penneys Dun Laoghaire; Angela McEvoy, Debenhams Cork; Fiona Lawrence, Dairygold Co-Op Tipperary; Clodagh Fitzgerald, Drinagh Co-Op; Caroline Walsh, M&S Cork LEFT: Union Rep Introductory course, February 2017, held in Portlaoise – From back left to right: Rob Lynch, Argos Tullamore; Joan Hurley, Debenhams Waterford; Noreen Carroll, Heatons Portlaoise; Maureen O’Donovan, M&S Athlone; Connie Farrington, SuperValu Portlaoise. Front row: Celine Darcy, Debenhams Waterford; Phil Champ, B&Q Naas; Lorraine McGowan, Boots Athlone; Zandra Nolan, Penneys Carlow; Denise Kavanagh, Argos Portlaoise


For those who want to brush up on their Irish speaking, writing and spelling skills while also developing communication skills which are important for dealing with workplace and personal situations. Mandate Trade Union in conjunction with Skills for Work is offering funded training. The courses are to encourage members back into learning and training whilst aiming towards a QQI Level 3 Award.

l This course helps you to improve your Irish language communications skills. l Use introductory vocabulary, to include greetings, introductions, exchange of basic personal information etc. l Exchange familiar information in the Irish language context. l Read simple notices, signs and short pieces of text on familiar subjects to include social and work related information. l Interact in social and work related situations using Irish language as the means of communication. l This course will help you to use the Irish Language at beginner level. This Course is open to members who have not achieved their Leaving Certificate or who have an out of date Leaving Certificate. Evening Courses take place one evening per week from September 2017 for a duration of 12 weeks in a venue near your workplace. Places are limited and allocated on a first come, first served basis. Courses delivered by the Education & Training Board near to your workplace

If you are interested please contact Mandate’s Training Centre before August 12th on 01-8369699 or by email and quote Ref.OTC32017 July 2017




We need houses not Hubs “

Brian Forbes

A PACKED AV room at Leinster House, Dublin, on Wednesday 12th July saw the launch of an important research document by Maynooth academics Dr Mary Murphy and Dr Rory Hearne, titled Investing In The Right To A Home: Housing, HAPs and Hubs. Ireland currently finds itself in a spiralling housing crisis which is likely to continue for many years to come. Shifting government policy that has seen the capitulation of the construction of social housing towards firstly the greater use of Rent Supplement (RS) and finally on to the current Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) has created the “perfect storm” for homelessness in Ireland to flourish. The Government has dismally failed to get to grips with the family homeless crisis and this report is both timely and incredibly important in the context of providing an alternative narrative that Hubs are not the only game in town when it comes to emergency housing provision. In fact, the use of Hubs is a massive downward spiral in our expectations for proper and decent housing for families.

The market will not resolve this crisis; in fact, it will continue to spiral out of control for years to come unless real interventions on the policy front are made by legislators...

Dail exchanges

Maynooth academics Dr Rory Hearne and Dr Mary Murphy present the report

Desperate situation


dren the thought of not knowing from day to day whether you’ll have a roof over your children’s heads the following day is a terrifying prospect. Therein lies the problem with HAP. It provides no basic security of tenure and families stress over the very real prospect of becoming homeless all over again. The real underlying deviousness with HAP is that it’s done in a way that keeps people off the social housing waiting lists. HAP really exist to remove people’s hopes of ever getting a corporation house while removing the aspiration of social housing as legitimate. The report outlines direct Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

quotes and life experiences of families forced on to HAP and into Hubs and they are incredibly moving and maddening in equal measure. According to the report’s authors, the use of Hubs will create a scenario were families enter the Hub but have no way to exit because of the insecurities and cost of the private rental market. The institutionalised policy approach of making emergency accommodation difficult to access, relatively uncomfortable and fundamentally unsuitable so that families become motivated to move on elsewhere simply ignores the many factors that created the homelessness in the first place. Families become locked into these institutions for much longer than necessary creating “therapeutic incarceration” which means that not only do the families become institutionalised but the response to homelessness becomes institutionalised also. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the Hub on Grace Park Road, Dublin, was formally a Magdalene Laundry. It is becoming clear to me that Irish policy makers have learnt nothing from our country’s sorrowful history of using these types of institutionalised responses to problems that policy makers would much prefer were hidden

Picture: William Murphy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Government has also failed to meet its previous commitment to move families out of hotels and into permanent accommodation by 1st July. They have now exacerbated an already desperate situation by moving homeless families from hotels to Hubs. The aforementioned report reaffirms all international research and literature on the use of Hubs, even as a temporary measure, and it universally declares “don’t do it.” The Maynooth academics further highlighted that the cost of paying for 87,000 private rental units would be €24bn more over the next 30 years than if the homes had been built and run by local authorities. Average HAP rent costs €1,244 a month in comparison to the cost of funding a local authority home at €800 a month. Building social housing through local authorities is much cheaper when directly compared to the cost of HAP and the cost of Hubs. In reality, policy decisions that favour the private rental sector over social housing is costing the State at least €800 million a year. The report clearly outlines that the exemption provided in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 which allows landlords to terminate leases by declaring that the property is to be sold or is needed for a family member, effectively limits security of tenure. Obviously, for families with chil-

tional profit into their already loaded coffers. The market will not resolve this crisis; in fact, it will continue to spiral out of control for years to come unless real interventions on the policy front are made by legislators. We all as citizens have a collective moral obligation to challenge these policy makers and to ensure that families are not left ignored and hidden in new institutionalised responses to housing and homelessness. There should be an increased rights approach to housing to create an alternative narrative and to campaign for effective and meaningful policy change. Home Sweet Home mobilised people against the dominant market policy and it’s more of that type of public discourse that’s needed around homelessness and the direct and indirect causes of homelessness.

and ignored were possible. Irish history is littered with social violence inflicted on mothers and children who were made invisible, incarcerated and effectively excluded from society. The report rightfully identifies these past institutionalised responses and cautions that Hubs could very well be Ireland’s next Magdalene Laundry story. It recommends that if Hubs are to be used, they should be contextualised with clear guidelines. The design model should separate landlord, management and key support functions and a three-month time limit imposed on the use of Hubs. A legislative “sunset” clause should be introduced to end the use of Hubs by 2019. In the meantime, we need legislation to enforce legally binding standards and a quality standards framework to avoid the danger of long-term institutional embeddedness and these are essential components for the short term use of Hubs. The reality is that family Hubs are not socially and politically acceptable solutions to the crisis. The real emergency response required is houses not Hubs. There is a cabal of powerful vested interests, both domestic and international, that hold sway over the media and who promote and champion market-based solutions to the Irish housing crisis which creates addi-

In response to the launch of the report, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar defended State provision of family Hubs in Dail exchanges. In one particular interesting exchange the Taoiseach was replying to Independent TD Joan Collins who referred to the “silent homeless” living in overcrowded accommodation and she referenced the report launched by the two academics earlier that day pointing out that it stated that families can be “severely damaged and traumatised from living in emergency accommodation, including Family Hubs.” The Taoiseach’s response was bizarre in the extreme when he recalled that he had met Dr Hearne in the past during his student days in Trinity. He said: “He was a students’ union president in Trinity when I was a student there and I think he may even have been an election candidate for one of the left-wing groups more recently than that.” Mr Varadhar told the Dail he had met Dr Hearne at a running event in the Phoenix Park, adding: “He was less than pleasant, to put it that way. It certainly was not the kind of polite conversation I would expect from a university academic.” Let’s forget about the fact that Hubs and government policy on housing could create the next “direct provision” and let’s not worry about international best practice on emergency housing and the important qualitative work conducted by two eminent Irish academics. What really matters is that Dr Hearne wasn’t very nice to our Leo when he was out jogging. Perhaps mentioning Love Actually at Number 10 Downing Street and jazzy socks with Trudeau will be the pinnacle of our Taoiseach’s achievements. He’s certainly giving Trump a run for his money in the idiot stakes. Hopefully, he won’t be around as Taoiseach for too long! SHOPFLOOR

y July 2017


Gen Sec to speak at Bodenstown MANDATE General Secretary John Douglas is to give the main oration at the United Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Bodenstown graveyard on Sunday August 20th in honour of the leader of the United Irishman. Those attending the event should assemble at 2.30pm in Sallins, Co Kildare, before marching to Bodenstown graveyard. There will be songs and music in the graveyard with a number of bands will be taking part in the march. A source told Shopfloor: “Trade unions, community groups, women's organisations and Right2Water campaigners are all very welcome. “Letters of invitation have been is-

sued a large number of people’s organisations and the march is open to all those who support the eleven principles of the Peadar O'Donnell Socialist Republican Forum.” The CPI has organised a bus that departs from Dublin city centre at 12 noon and returns that evening at around 6pm. The cost for taking the bus is €10 return and must be booked and paid in advance at Connolly Books. The source added: “If the weather is reasonable, it might be a good idea to take a picnic and make it a family day out. Book a place without delay!” Connolly Books – Tel: 01 6708707; email:

Computer Training Course QQI Level 3 Mandate Trade Union in conjunction with Skills for Work is offering funded training. The courses are to encourage members back into learning and training whilst aiming towards a QQI Level 3 Award. Starting from scratch this course helps you to use a computer and builds confidence for communicating on-line. Courses are open to members who have not achieved their Leaving Cert or who have an out-of-date Leaving Cert Evening Courses take place one evening per week from September 2017 for a duration of 12 weeks in a venue near your workplace. If you are interested please contact Mandate’s Training Centre before 12th August on 01-8369699 or by email and quote Ref.OTC22017 Please see Mandate website for further Training courses at Places are limited and are allocated on a first come, first served basis July 2017



Picture: European Parliament




ICTU: zero hour legal proposals ‘quite positive’

Help for those coping with dyslexia

THE Irish Congress of Trade Unions has described as “quite positive” new proposals to tackle zero hour and precarious work practices. This follows the approval by government of draft legislation to strengthen the regulation of such practices, from the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and & Innovation. Responding to the decision, Congress General Secretary Patricia King told Shopfloor: “This is an issue ICTU has been active on for some time and we see much of what is contained in this draft legislation as quite positive. “Congress has pressed the need for legal change to counter the downward pressure on standards that has resulted from zero hour, low hour and precarious work practices.” She pointed out that such practices were central to a number of high-profile disputes in the retail sector in recent years and flagged up in a subsequent University of Limerick study on the extent and pervasiveness of low hour contracts and the increasing casualisation of work. Ms King continued: “Congress believes that the proposed prohibition on zero hour contracts in the draft legislation is positive and progressive, but believes that issues remain to be resolved with regard to the appropriate rate of pay that will apply. “The fact the legislation will provide for employees being furnished with their contract of employment within five days of starting work, as a matter of right, is positive. “Congress notes that the draft legislation would entitle workers to request banded hour contracts, based on their established pattern of working hours, something that would be hugely beneficial to workers across the economy, helping to create more certainty around their hours of work and greater security of income,” Ms King added.

THE definition of dyslexia preferred by the Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) is that dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which makes it difficult for some people to learn to read, write and spell. However, it is not limited to this and adults with dyslexia sometimes also struggle with time management and organisation at work. Planning and organising, setting out timetables, distinguishing between the important and the urgent, remembering appointments, passing on telephone messages from memory and meeting deadlines can be difficult for many people with dyslexia. In 2016, the Dyslexia Association of Ireland appointed a Development and Support Officer (adult services). The role is funded by SOLAS (Further Education and Training Authority) and continues into 2017 as a parttime position. The primary objective of the role is to create awareness and develop supports for adults who experience dyslexia both in education and in the workplace. DAI are delighted that we were recently invited to provide a briefing session to Mandate which focused on how best to support their members. It is very important that people understand that dyslexia has no relationship to the intelligence of an individual. It is also important to understand that no two people who have dyslexia will have the same type of difficulty as every profile is different. In relation to employment, sometimes, the biggest fear that employees have is that if they declare their dyslexia they may be seen differently by their employer and/or colleagues. While this fear is understandable it is worth considering disclosing the fact that you have dyslexia in order to

Mandate held a Dyslexia Training Day in Dublin earlier this year. Michelle Kinsella, of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland, looks at what support is on offer to those who experience dyslexia in education and in the workplace...

Illustration: JoeJitsu (Public Domain)

avail of the supports that you need in order to help you to do your job effectively. The Employment Equality Act states that employers are not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of disabilities, including dyslexia, and in fact have a responsibility to ensure they make reasonable accommodations. This means that the employer should provide equipment or alterations that might help you in your role. An example of this could be assistive technology such as computer software, extra time to complete tasks, a quiet space in order to allow the employee to concentrate or in the case of a new employee a slightly longer induction training. The Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant (WEAG), administered by INTREO ( is available to employers to help cover the cost of reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. DAI both nationally and locally is active in lobbying and campaigning for greater awareness and improved services for those dealing with dyslexia. We are committed to working with organisations – such as Mandate – that wish to support people with dyslexia. The Dyslexia Association of Ireland website ( contains a great deal of information on various topics ranging from children with dyslexia to adults in the workplace. There are a number of links available through the website to further information. DAI hold regular information evenings and study skills sessions. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and keep an eye on our events page for upcoming sessions. You can also contact us at 01 8776001 or by email at

l Starting from Scratch this course helps you to improve your communications skills.

Training Course (QQI Level 3)


Mandate Trade Union in conjunction with Skills for Work is offering funded training. The courses are to encourage members back into learning and training whilst aiming towards a QQI Level 3 Award.

l Courses are open to members who have not achieved their Leaving Certificate or who have an out of date Leaving Certificate.

Communication Skills:

For those who want to brush up on their writing and spelling skills while also developing personal and interpersonal skills which are important for dealing ASwith workplace and personal situations. Evening Courses take place one evening per week from September 2017 for a duration of 12 weeks in a venue near your workplace. If you are interested please contact Mandate’s Training Centre before August 12th on 01-836 9699 or by email and please remember to quote Ref.OTC12017 Check out for further training courses

Places are limited and are allocated on a first come, first served basis. Courses are delivered by the Education and Training Board in a location near your workplace. 24


y July 2017



Security Training for staff at Tesco Express stores in Celbridge and Enfield held in the Glen Royal Hotel, Maynooth on January 17th


Trade Union Representation (QQ1 Level 5)

This course for shop stewards/union representatives who have completed the introductory course or who have relevant experience.

Course content: • Understanding Mandate’s structures • Overview of Mandate’s rules • Industrial Relations institutions and mechanisms • Mandate’s Organising Model

• • • • •

Negotiations & Collective Bargaining Understanding Equality and Diversity Developing induction presentation skills Introduction to Employment Law Identifying issues and using procedures

Certification and Progression: Members who successfully complete this training course will obtain a Mandate certificate. They may progress to the QQI Level 5 Certificate in Trade Union studies or other relevant training courses offered by Mandate. If you are interested in this course, please contact your Mandate official or Mandate's Training Centre at 01-8369699. Email:

House Committee Training Course This House Committee course is designed to assist members in their role as Mandate Trade Union representatives and to build on their skills and expertise as a House Committee member. This three-hour course is delivered to House Committee members with a minimum of five in attendance and held at a time that suits you in a location convenient to your workplace.

Course Content:

l Background to Mandate Trade Union. l A stronger union workplace. l Organising your workplace.

l Development of effective communications. l Building your network and involvement in Mandate Trade Union.

If you are interested in this training please contact the training centre at: Mandate Organising and Training Centre, Distillery House, Distillery Road, Dublin 3 Tel: (01) 836 9699 Email: July 2017




Solving the global refugee crisis starts with 3 simple words: Colm O’Gorman

AS SHELLS exploded around their home in a besieged neighbourhood of Ta’iz, Yemen, brothers Yahia and Maher, then aged 16 and 18, took shelter beneath the staircase. They stayed there for three days with a dwindling supply of food and water. As dawn broke on the fourth day they made a run for it, dodging gunfire. “Bullets were hitting close to their feet as they ran,” their mother Fatima, a US green card holder, says. “Luckily they were not injured.” Fatima’s greatest hope is that her sons will join her in New York where she lives. In November, almost two years after the brothers, now aged 18 and 20, applied to come to the United States, they had an interview at the US embassy in Djibouti where they are currently stranded. The interview went well and they were hopeful that their long wait to be reunited with their family would soon come to an end.

Stroke of a pen

Then, Donald Trump signed his latest executive order. With the stroke of a pen, the President banned Yemenis like Yahia and Maher from entering the USA. He also effectively shut America’s door to anyone – including refugees – from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. These six countries have two main things in common: they are predominantly Muslim, and many of their citizens are trying to seek asylum abroad to escape serious human rights violations like persecution, indiscriminate bombings, and torture. By narrowing slightly the scope of the new executive order the Trump administration may have remedied some of its predecessor’s constitutional flaws but it remains blatantly discriminatory. Thinly disguised as a national security measure, the ban reinstates many of the most repellent elements of the original. The latest ban has now been halted by federal courts in a number of US States, but the Trump administra-

By narrowing slightly the scope of the new executive order the Trump administration may have remedied some of its predecessor’s constitutional flaws but it remains blatantly discriminatory. Thinly disguised as a national security measure, it reinstates many of the most repellent elements of the original

tion has vowed to challenge those rulings and to proceed with the implementation of this discriminatory policy. Meanwhile, life for Yahia and Maher, friendless and unemployed in an unfamiliar land, is hard. “My sons are feeling absolutely helpless and lost,” says Fatima, who herself no longer feels secure in the United States. “These decisions made by President Trump have left us in a state of constant fear. We feel like suspects even though we’ve never done anything wrong in our lives.” Amnesty International is working to challenge everything this, and any future ban represents. Right now, 21 million people have been forced to flee their homes. Instead of protecting

Picture: Amnesty International

refugees, many countries including the United States are slamming their doors shut. Amnesty International is a movement of people who believe that the things that unite us are far more powerful than those that threaten to divide us. We don’t see refugees as a threat, but as people whose lives are under threat. People who need a safe place to start again and a chance to make a positive contribution. And we know that the solution to the global refugee crisis starts with each and every one of us making one simple, personal commitment to help – simply by saying: “I welcome refugees”. Learn more and join our campaign by visiting Colm O’Gorman is Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland

Why not do your bit on the Shopfloor! SHOPFLOOR KEEPS YOU INFORMED... HELP KEEP US INFORMED BY EMAILING STORIES & PICTURES ABOUT YOUR WORKPLACE Please contact Shopfloor at or post your article to Shopfloor, Mandate Trade Union, 9 Cavendish Row, Dublin 1 26


y July 2017



WRC meeting follows organising drive

AFTER an extensive and highly successful initial organising campaign in Lloyds Pharmacy, Mandate organisers have secured a significant number of new members across its chain of stores nationwide. Lead Organiser Bill Abom told Shopfloor: “The workers in Lloyds Pharmacy are a great bunch of people and our union organisers have been working hand in hand with some great union activists in this employment. “As a collective we have been successfully recruiting and organising over the past number of months to

achieve increased union density and to deliver real worker power to our members. “Our clear objective is to give our members in Lloyds a collective voice and to organise that collective towards achieving better terms and conditions of service for our members. “We are part of the way to achieving our stated goal but we’ve plenty more hard organising work ahead.” Following on from the success of the organising campaign, Mandate held a conciliation conference at the Workplace Relations Commission

(WRC) with representatives of Lloyds Pharmacy on June 27. The company was represented by HR consultants Tom Smyth & Associates while Divisional Organiser Brendan O’Hanlon led the Mandate delegation. Mr O’Hanlon informed the WRC that Mandate represented a substantial number of employees, in all grades, across 60 locations and outlined a number of issues in dispute. These included: pay increase; pay scales; annual leave, sick pay scheme; hours of work and public holiday entitlements. He said: “We asked the

Commission to establish if the company was prepared to meaningfully engage on these issues. “Following a brief separate engagement between the company and the WRC, we were informed that the union’s position will be brought to the attention of the Board of Lloyds Pharmacy who are scheduled to meet on July 19 and that the company’s response would be confirmed to the WRC on July 21.” Meanwhile, Mandate’s organising and recruitment campaign at Lloyds continues apace.

Brendan O’Hanlon: issues in dispute

Members urged to support out-of-hours GP campaign for Bray and Greystones areas

NEC member Brian Fogerty, second from left, with speakers at the campaign event

NEC member Brian Fogerty has urged members of the union living locally to back a call for an out-ofhours GP service for the north Wicklow areas of Bray and Greystones. He made the call after attending a recent campaign meeting held at the Royal Hotel, Bray, which included speakers John Brady TD, Cllr Michael O'Connor and Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O'Reilly. Mr Fogerty told the meeting: "Minister for Health Simon Harris – who is an elected TD for our constituency – has let us down badly by promising funding for this service and then allowing it to be scrapped.” “Being an active Mandate trade union rep, I

Mandate in conjunction with Skills for Work is offering funded training. The courses are to encourage members back into learning and training whilst aiming towards a QQI Level 3 Award.

Personal Finance Training Course Personal Finance: For those who want to brush up on their personal finance skills, while also developing and understanding budgeting techniques etc. COURSE CONTENT: l Planning a realistic budget by understanding how you use money and prioritizing l Improve basic maths skills: Use of calculator for percent and Memory keys l Understand the equivalents of decimal, fraction and percent. l Demonstrate estimation and rounding skills l Use Excel to aid money management l Use of internet to navigate, social welfare, and comparative sites for best prices in electricity, gas, broadband and telephone

l Understand your payslip, work out tax credits, PRSI and USC. l Investigate social welfare payments and schemes l Understand and compare different types of savings and loans available l Compare bank accounts, credit cards, personal loans l Understand consumer rights and how to complain

Evening courses take place one evening per week from September 2017 for a duration of 12 weeks in a venue near your workplace. If you are interested please contact Mandate’s Training Centre on 01-836 9699 or by email before August 12th and quote Ref.OTC42017. Check out for further training courses Places limited and allocated on first come, first served basis. Courses delivered by Education & Training Boards inear to your workplace. July 2017


know this is a huge issue for retail workers who work sporadic hours. The majority don't work 9 to 5 jobs and many work as late as 9pm or 10pm at night – so access to a GP service can prove difficult.” He pointed out that with waits of up to eight hours for a doctor-on-call outside of GP opening hours and with the closure of the A&E department in Loughlinstown Hospital, local people were being forced to go to Dublin hospitals such as St Vincent's for medical attention. “This is a disgrace and a service is badly needed. I am urging my fellow union members to get behind this campaign and join the campaign until we have achieved our objective!"

Safety Representation for Elected Reps QQI Level 5 This course is aimed at Health and Safety Representatives. The following topics will be covered on the course:

l Health and Safety Legislation l Role of Health and Safety Representative l Safety statements l Role of Health and Safety Authority l Occupational health l Identification of hazards and risk assessment l Accident investigation l Fire safety l Effective communications l Health and safety promotion Date/Time: 2/3/4/5/6 October 2017 – 9:30am-5pm

Venue: Mandate Training Centre, Distillery Road, Dublin 3 Certification and Progression: Members who successfully complete this course will receive a QQI Level 5 component award certificate and may progress to other courses offered by Mandate or other organisations. Please contact your union official or Mandate Training Centre phone 01-8369699 or email to confirm your place 27


Why the Bolivarian republic is under attack armed intervention. On more than 50 other occasions, the United States has used local proxies to deliver regime change. Invariably this has led to the immiseration of the native population and the persistence of authoritarian and dictatorial regimes. Rocio Maneiro informed her audience that the US is attempting a twin approach in an attempt to strangle the progressive and democratic movement in Venezuela. On one hand the North American government is seeking to influence the Organisation of American States (OAS) to impose economic sanctions on the government in Caracas. On the other hand, Washington is now using its diplomatic muscle to persuade the European Union

On more than 50 occasions the US has used local proxies to deliver regime change in Latin America...

Learn English with Mandate for free! Mandate, your trade union, is offering English speaking classes for members. The course is for members who while speaking some English have never had the opportunity for formal training. In the course you will learn the basic grammar and improve your vocabulary. You will have the chance to correct those mistakes that your workmates are too polite to tell you about! Improved language skills can add to your confidence and improve your quality of life. Training is free to Mandate members. If there are 10 Mandate members who wish to attend this training, classes will take place in a location near to your workplace. If you are interested please contact: Mandate’s Training Centre on 01-8369699 Places are limited and are allocated on first come, first served basis 28

to also impose economic sanctions on the Bolivarian republic in order to stall the progress made since the election of the late President Hugo Chávez. Prior to his election, 82% of the people lived in poverty. In the years following the election of Chávez, this statistic changed dramatically and the welfare of the peo- Rocio Maneiro: history lesson ple improved immensely. It is this challenge to neoliberal hegemony that disturbs the forces of reaction and is causing them to attempt the destruction of a progressive development in the Latin American republic. The opposition to the government of

Picture: International Maritime Organisation (CC BY 2.0)

HER Excellency Rocio Maneiro, the Venezuelan ambassador to UK and Ireland, delivered a moving address in Connolly Books Dublin on Saturday 8th July to a group of Irish supporters of the progressive South American Bolivarian republic. The diplomat dealt specifically with the threat currently faced by her country as it strives to deliver a more humanitarian system for its people. Her main concern related to the unwelcome and reactionary attempts being made by the United States to influence and bring about regime change in her native land. The ambassador gave a brief outline of the history of outside intervention in the domestic affairs of many countries in South America over the last two centuries. She specifically highlighted the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and the 1904 Roosevelt Corollary which the United States has used to give itself a spurious and illegal excuse for intervening in Latin America over those centuries. On 50 different occasions this has involved

Venezuela is endeavouring to sabotage every vehicle of progress by disrupting oil processing facilities and has even went as far as destroying food stores supplying hungry people. In spite of this, Her Excellency Rocio Maneiro remains confident that the people of Venezuela will succeed in overcoming the present difficulties. As she said, sovereignty rests in the people of Venezuela and this must continue. Concluding her address, she requested that the Irish people be informed of the truth in relation to her home country and that they be made aware of the real nature of the attack currently been made on working people in her country. She added that it would be of great assistance if progressive people everywhere were to organise and voice support for the democratic government under threat in Venezuela and demand that the Irish government gives it support to the call that the world respects the sovereignty of the Venezuela people and affords them the right to settle their own affairs.

Information Technology Skills Level 5 What you’ll learn...

l Word Processing: Document Formatting, Graphics, Mail Merge l Create documents applying a range of processing features l Use proofing uools such as spell-check, thesaurus & search/replace l Learn File Management l Use Windows Explorer l Open, edit, and print a document l Enter, edit and sort data l Insert and delete rows and columns in a worksheet l Enter formulae l Microsoft Outlook - send and receive emails. l Excel – create spreadsheets l PowerPoint presentations

Venue: Mandate Training Centre, Distillery Road, Dublin 3 Date: 13th September 2017 Time: 6:30pm – 9pm Cost: Free of Charge Eligibility: Mandate members Evening Courses take place one evening per week from 13th September 2017 for a duration of 12 weeks. If interested contact Mandate Training Centre before August 12th on 01-8369699 or email and quote Ref.OTC62017 Places are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis and are open to Mandate members who are currently unemployed. SHOPFLOOR

y July 2017


Union Rep Advanced Senior course, January 2017, held at the Mandate Training Centre – From back left to right: Deirdre O’Hara, CWU; Eoin Kelly, House of Fraser; Vicky Hanrahan, Tesco Waterford; James Sheikh, SuperValu Swords; Paul Daniels, Tesco Carrick On Shannon. Front row: Jason Beirne, Tesco Carrick On Shannon; Keith Leonard, Tesco Castlebar; Tonya Whelan, NEC


Mandate members who completed the Union Representative Advanced Senior Course run between January 30th – February 1st had this to say: “I am a retail trainer. This was the best training I have ever done. I would recommend it to anyone. It was so good I would do it again!” – Eoin Kelly, House of Fraser, Dundrum “Brilliant course.” – Jason Beirne, Tesco, Carrick On Shannon

“I would recommend this course to others, 100%” – Sandra Reape, Penneys, Ballina “The information in this course has been very good. I would love to see it rolled out to all of our members.” – Paul Daniels, Tesco, Carrick On Shannon

“It was excellent – best course I’ve been on.” – James Sheikh, SuperValu, Swords “One of the most interactive, relevant and interesting courses I’ve been on in Mandate.” – Vicky Hanrahan, Tesco, Waterford “A very good course – I would suggest that all Mandate members do it.” – Keith Leonard, Tesco, Castlebar

What you’ll learn...

l Word processing common uses for example: document formatting, graphics tables and mail merge.

l Create documents applying a range of processing features.

l Use proofing tools such as spell check, thesaurus and search/replace.

l Learn File Management facilities.

Venue: Mandate Training Centre, Distillery Road, Dublin 3 Date: 12th September 2017 Time: 6:30pm – 9pm

Cost: Free of Charge

Eligibility: Mandate members Evening Courses take place one evening per week from 12th September 2017 for a duration of 12 weeks. If interested contact Mandate Training Centre before August 12th on 01-8369699 or email and quote Ref.OTC52017 July 2017



Computer Applications Basic Skills QQI Level 4


Union Representative Advanced Senior Course The Union Representative Advanced Senior Training Course is for union representatives who have completed the Introductory and Advanced course and who have experience as a union

Course content

 The history of trade unionism emergence and development  The of the market system  The impact of globalisation trade and open markets  Free in a modern society Certification and Progression: Members who successfully complete this training course will obtain a Mandate certificate. They may progress to the FETAC level 5 Certificate in Trade Union studies or other relevant training courses offered by Mandate. If you are interested in this course, please contact your Mandate Official or Mandate's Training Centre at 01-8369699. Email: 29


Communications & Professional Development (CPD) The objective of this course is to provide you with tools and techniques that will allow you to know more, learn more and develop yourself, your knowledge and your abilities for your own personal and professional development.

Gain a National Qualification with a QQI Level 5 Course and develop your own skills and learn more about your rights and your society. • Communications skills: public speaking skills, better writing skills • Finding the right information that will steer you in the right direction • The environment in which we live and work

• • • •

Social, political and economic landscape of unions Media ownership – who is telling you what and why Social Media – What it is all about? How to write a good application form and CV

Venue: Mandate Training Centre, Distillery Road, Dublin 3 Time: 6:30pm – 9pm

Cost: Free of Charge

Date: 12th September 2017

Eligibility: Mandate members

Evening Courses take place one evening per week from 12th September 2017 for a duration of 12 weeks. RIGHT: Placard reads ‘Brazil If you’re interested, contact Mandate’s Training Centre before August 12th on 01-836 9699 or email and quote Ref.OTC72017 first place in corruption’ Pictures: Ben Tavener (CC BY 2.0)

This training course is FREE and designed for YOU!

Picture: Rodrigo Senna (CC BY 2.0)


Connect with Mandate


y July 2017


UNI Global and IndustriALL broker new Bangladesh Accord with leading brands UNI Global Union and IndustriALL Global Union stood with representatives of signatory brands to announce a new Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety at the OECD Global Forum on Responsible Business Conduct in Paris recently. With an expanding number of signatories, this new legally-binding agreement covers more than a thousand Bangladeshi garment factories that supply signatory brands. The agreement has so far been signed by brands including Kmart Australia, Target Australia, Primark, H&M, Inditex (Zara), C&A, Otto, KiK, Aldi South, Aldi North, Lidl, Tchibo, LC Waikiki, Helly Hansen and PVH. Prior to the announcement, brands including: Esprit, Hüren, Bestseller, Wibra, Schmidt Group, N Brown Group, Specialty Fashion Group Australia committed to signing.

UNI Global Deputy Gen Sec Christy Hoffman


This three-year agreement builds on the achievements of the first Bangladesh Accord signed in May 2013 in response to the Rana Plaza building collapse. It continues the first Accord’s ground-breaking, legallybinding framework and commitment to transparency. It also adds new worker protections and ensures that many more factories will be inspected and renovated, as signatory brands add suppliers. Importantly, it strengthens the right of workers to organise and join a union, recognising worker empowerment is fundamental to assuring workplace safety. It includes enhanced protections for workers whose factories are closed or relocated due to the implementation of the agreement. It also presents the possibility to expand the Accord to sectors other than the readymade garment industry. The Rana Plaza collapse in April

The desperate scramble to save lives in the aftermath of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse

2013 claimed the lives of more than 1,100 workers, injuring 2,500 more. Six weeks later, unions, non-governmental organisations and brands announced the first Bangladesh Accord. Currently, the Accord covers more than 2.5 million workers. The new Accord goes into effect after the 2013 Accord expires in May 2018. Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union, said: “Over the past four years, unions and


worker safety organisations have worked together with global brands within the Accord to find a solution to the seemingly intractable problem of dangerous factories in Bangladesh.

Forward motion “Many said that change was not possible. We’ve proven them wrong. Our aim is to create a global economy which respects the lives and dignity of all workers, and the Accord is a big

Image courtesy of IRLF

step along that path. The 2018 Accord will continue the forward motion.” The new agreement extends independent, expert building safety inspections for three more years for all covered factories, ensuring that safety improvements achieved under the first Accord will be maintained and that new problems in any factory will be addressed. Under the first Accord, engineers

Our aim is to create a global economy which respects the lives and dignity of all workers

carried out fire, electrical, and structural safety inspections at more than 1,800 factories, identifying 118,500 hazards. Seventy-nine per cent of workplace dangers identified in the Accord’s original round of inspections have been remediated. IndustriALL General Secretary Valter Sanches said: “Brands' renewed commitment to factory safety in Bangladesh is a vote of confidence in the Accord. The Accord is, at present, the only credible option for health and safety in Bangladesh garment factories. It shows that industrial relations can be used to save lives and improve global supply chains.”

Interested in doing a personal finance or maths course?

Do you have a desire to improve your personal finance skills? Or maths skills? But never got around to doing it?

Personal Finance and Maths course City of Dublin Education and Training Board

Starting from scratch this course helps you to improve your maths and personal finance. Mandate Trade Union in conjunction with Skills for Work are offering members the opportunity to attend training. The courses are to encourage members back into learning and training while aiming towards a QQI Level 3 Award. If you are interested in doing a Communications through Computers course, contact: Mandate Training Centre, Distillery House, Distillery Road, Dublin 3 Phone: 01-8369699 Email: Courses are free and open to members who have not achieved Leaving Certificate or who have an out-of-date Leaving Certificate. You can also achieve a QQI Level 3 Award. Skills for Work is funded by the Department of Education & Skills.

July 2017



What HAVE OUR unions ever done for us? ...Annual leave Pay increases Sick leave Lunch breaks SMOKE FREE WORKPLACE BANDED HOUR CONTRACTS Redundancy pay The weekend Health & safety laws Unfair dismissal legislation Maternity & parental leave And much, much more...

Join OUR union

Shopfloor July 2017  

Shopfloor - Mandate Trade Union July 2017

Shopfloor July 2017  

Shopfloor - Mandate Trade Union July 2017