SHOPFLOOR MANDATE TRADE UNION
‘The struggle continues – you must fight for a better future for you and you family – get angry, get active and win’ John Douglas - PAGE 3
AUSTERITY EXPLODING THE MYTH
Picture: images of money (CC BY 2.0)
‘WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER...’ THE NUMBER of billionaires in Ireland has more than DOUBLED over the past year. According to the recently published Ireland’s Rich List, we have NINE stupendously wealthy individuals who have more than one thou‐ sand million euro in assets. Last year, Ireland only boasted four in this most
exclusive jet‐set category, so it appears we DO have growth in the economy... in the number of billionaires. For the rest of us, of course, it’s a different story. Mandate National Coordi‐ nator Brian Forbes, writing in this issue of Shopfloor, said: “We’re being sold a blatant lie. We are certainly not all in it together, as
evidenced by the increasing vast wealth at the top echelons of Irish society set against the increasing num‐ bers of people in massive debt and in dire poverty. “Added to this number are the tens of thousands of people now labelled as working poor and who are becoming increasingly marginalised within society.”
That’s rich! So there IS growth in the Irish economy - PAGE 5
Penneys wages claim goes to Labour Court Mandate striker shoots and scores SOCCER pundit Eamon Dunphy may have displayed some deft on-the-ball skills when he played midﬁeld for Millwall as a young man, but he was badly wrongfooted when he tried to tackle our own National Coordinator Brian Forbes in a recent debate. Brian, who always plays in an outside left position, was sharing a discussion panel with SIPTU communications chief Frank Connolly and Dr Conor McCabe, at the 1913-2013 A Century of Struggle conference organised by Sinn Fein in March. Dunphy, who chaired the Liberty Hall event, was going on and on about how diﬃcult his
FOLLOWING the failure of many months of direct negotiations with Penneys management – including four conciliation conferences at the Labour Relations Commission – Mandate’s claim for a pay increase and arrangements to protect estab‐ lished weekly earnings has now been referred to a full hearing of the Labour Court on June 4. Mandate Assistant General Secre‐ tary Gerry Light told Shopfloor that
this had caused “significant disap‐ pointment” among employees at the retailer. He said: “Our members clearly are at a loss as to why their employer is treating them in such a manner – considering the clear ability of the business to afford the union’s claim.” Mr Light pointed out that the disappointment felt by members had subsequently turned to “anger and frustration” after it was re‐
vealed management grades at the firm had been awarded a 2% pay increase from September last year. He added: “Coupled with the fact that Primark workers in Northern Ireland were paid a 2.5% pay in‐ crease last year, these revelations only served to double the commit‐ ment of the union to deliver a deal for our members. And a deal which does not see cost off‐setting meas‐ ures conceded in return.”
son and daughter were ﬁnding working within the private sector. Brian takes up the story: “He asked me, ‘So you're the big union man in the private sector – tell me what they should do?’ “After due consideration, I responded, ‘Are they in a union, Eamon?’ “‘Of course not’, he replied. “So I said, ‘Then get them to join a bloody union, Eamo, they can't make a diﬀerence on their own. Simples." Brian added: “There was a big cheer from audience and he sat back, I think suitably chastened.” Strabane 1, Millwall 0
No progress in Argos talks MANDATE representatives have held a number of meetings with Argos management in recent months to discuss issues linked to terms and conditions of employment. It followed a national shop stewards meeting on February 27 at which a number of priorities were set out for the talks. Industrial Oﬃcer Dave Miskell, while conﬁrming to Shopfloor that
no progress had been made to date, added: “Over the coming weeks it is hoped the negotiating committee will be communicating with stores setting out a detailed update of the talks. “Members should ensure that the union is aware of their correct contact details so we can inform them in a timely manner about the outcome of the discussions.”
Could you write for Shopfloor? Do you have a perspective on the Irish political, social or economic environment that you'd like to share with your fellow members in Mandate Trade Union? Do you have a good news story about how being a union member has benefited you and your colleagues in the workplace. Have you a story about how you or your family are coping in the current recession. Whatever it is, we'd like to hear from you. Please contact Shopfloor at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your article to Shopfloor, Mandate Trade Union,9 Cavendish Row, Dublin 1 2
Profit hike for Penneys parent firm ASSOCIATED British Foods, the parent company of Penneys and Primark, has announced a 20% increase in half-year proﬁts due to the successful performance of the retail company across the UK and Ireland. It is understood a 55% jump in Penneys and Primark's operating proﬁt in the six months (up to March 2) drove a 20% increase in AB Foods' group total to £496m (€582m). This was well above analysts' average forecast of £485m. Group chief George Weston was upbeat at the news, describing the performance as “clearly
extraordinary”. Penneys and Primark’s performance and a 29% rise in proﬁt from the group's grocery division, more than oﬀset a 5% fall in its sugar business. Shares in the group, 55% of which are owned by the Weston family, have risen 51% over the last year. Group revenue was up 10% to £6.33 billion (€7.43 billion), underlying earnings per share (EPS) rose 22% to 41.9 pence and an interim dividend of 9.35 pence, up 10%, is being paid. SHOPFLOOR
y May 2013
General Secretary Mandate Trade Union
1913 to 2013: the struggle continues...
ONE hundred years ago in August 1913 the employers of Dublin led by William Martin Murphy, the owner of the Tramways Company and the Irish Independ ent newspaper set out to destroy the fledgling union of Big Jim Larkin, the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, which was attempting to organise and mobilise workers on the docks, coal yards and the transport system. What ensued is referred to as the Great 1913 Dublin Lockout, when employers supported by the establishment (Church and State) locked out more than 20,000 workers from August 1913. These workers were locked out because they refused to sign pledges to leave the union. The workers and their families were brutalised by employers, blacklisted, starved and baton-charged by police in O’Connell Street, Dublin. Two strikers were killed as a result of the baton charge, referred to as Bloody Sunday (not the last such Sunday this country would witness). James Plunkett in his novel Strumpet City graphically describes the poverty and brutalisation of the workers and their families at the time. Eventually after six months the strikers were starved and beaten back to work. But Murphy and the other employers might have won the battle, but they did not win the war. They did not succeed in destroying the union and working class resistance – the trade union movement continued to grow and win better pay and conditions for workers from the employers and government. This very same struggle continues to this very day, the battle between labour and capital – the struggle of workers to achieve a decent living wage for a fair working week. Today’s William Martin Murphy employers are still trying to destroy workers’ power and worker solidarity. They are opposed to workers securing the right to join and be represented by trade unions, they still intimidate workers and harass unions and organising drives. The modern day William Martin Murphy is today’s anti-union employer – such as Aldi, Lidl, IKEA RyanAir etc – supported by a so-called “free” press such as the Irish Independent and “independent” radio stations owned by the elite and powerful whose interest is to have weak worker power and weak trade unions. Add to this a right-of-centre government party which panders to their tune of flexibility and competitiveness and a low-wage economy. Picture: Qamrul Anam Coordinator, Textile & RMG, IBC
‘Race to bottom’ ultimately behind Bangladesh factory collapse horror MANDATE has added its voice to the global chorus of condemnation following the horriﬁc factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed hundreds of garment workers and injured thousands more. More than 2,500 workers were employed in ﬁve garment factories at the eight-storey Rana Plaza in Savar, a town 30km from the capital Dhaka. At 9am on April 24, the building collapsed crushing and trapping thousands of employees,
most of them women. Days before, large structural cracks had appeared in supporting pillars throughout the building but business at the factories continued as normal. According to industriALL Global union, several wellknown western brands were believed to have been produced at the factories. IndustriALL Global Union General Secretary Jyrki Raina said: “This terrible tragedy highlights the urgency of put-
ting a stop to the race to the bottom in supplying cheap means of production to international brands, a race in which hundreds of workers have lost their lives.” National Coordinator Brian Forbes told Shopﬂoor: “Cheap clothes for western shoppers often comes at an unacceptable price being paid by workers in developing countries forced to work for poverty wages in extremely dangerous working conditions.”
a new set of proposals to members at the department store chain. Meanwhile, management have also indicated their desire to start negotiations over the restructuring of the established defined benefit pension arrangements. Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light told
One hundred years on we are still fighting for the right for workers to be fully represented by unions and the employers are just as vicious and as hostile as they were back then. More than 400,000 unemployed workers in 2013 are locked out of the economy and locked out of providing a decent income for their families because of the reckless actions of a golden circle of senior bankers, speculators and politicians. The income of those in employment is being robbed to pay banking debts which are not theirs and social services are being curtailed to the most vulnerable in our society. The only credible red line against these actions is organ ised labour and social solidarity. Like William Martin Murphy, today’s elite – employers and government – know that they must destroy workers’ resistance and workers’ solidarity. That is why unions, union members and their fight back are being demonised in the press and on the airwaves. That is why they seek to divide and conquer – public sector workers against private sector workers, Irish workers against foreign workers, workers against welfare recipients, teachers against nurses etc. They must not succeed; we must unite and say enough is enough. We demand only what is right and just decent jobs and decent income for all. The struggle continues you must take your place and fight for a better future for you and your family GET ANGRY, GET ACTIVE AND WIN.
New proposals to go before staff at Brown Thomas NEGOTIATIONS have restarted with management at Brown Thomas fol‐ lowing the rejection of a set of pro‐ posals previously brokered at the Labour Relations Commission. A further conciliation conference at the LRC took place on April 16 after which it was agreed to present
Be in no doubt that the war which begun in 1913 still rages today. It may not be in the form of baton charges on O’Connell Street, but behind the closed doors of government, the legal system and the intimidation of workers by wellresourced employers and consultants.
Shopfloor: “Obviously discussions regarding this matter will have to be commenced as a matter of urgency. “However, they will take place to‐ tally separately to the new ballot re‐ garding our pay claim which is the subject of the latest LRC proposal.”
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: www.mandate.ie Design & Editing: Brazier Media E: email@example.com Shopfloor is edited, produced and printed by trade union labour 3
FOCUS CHILD INCOME SUPPORTS
Reform proposals could mean big losses for low-paid workers
Is Govt planning a devastating cut in income for low-paid workers? By Camille Loftus THE first report of the Advisory Group appointed by Minister Joan Burton to proposed changes in the tax and social welfare codes was published recently. It covers the issue of child income supports. The Advisory Group focused on two different reforms: a) taxing Child Benefit, or b) restructuring child income supports into two ‘tiers’. A first ‘tier’ would be paid to everyone regardless of income, and a second tier would be means‐ tested. Higher earners would receive only the universal ‘first tier’ – as is the case with Child Benefit – although it would be paid at a lower rate. Families with incomes below €25,000 a year would receive the full rate of second tier payment, after this it would be gradually with‐ drawn as income rises. It was the ‘two‐tier’ income support model that the Group recommended. There are some important strengths in this model. Paying less support to higher earners seems fair: with resources as scarce as they are, it is important that they are di‐ rected to those who need them most. The Group also recommends that a universal support for all children be retained, in recognition of the state’s commitment to supporting all children. However, there is a
catch, and it’s a big one for low paid workers. These two tiers would re‐ place supports currently available including Child Benefit and the addi‐ tional child allowances for social welfare recipients. But crucially, the ‘two‐tier’ model would also replace Family Income Supplement (FIS) – the top up payment for families in low paid employment. And that has very significant implications for low paid working families. Crucially, although FIS is means tested, it provides more support to families who are working than those who are not. For many, it’s vital in stretching inadequate wages to meet their family’s needs. Replacing FIS
with a two‐tier child income support means that by far the greatest losses would be faced by low‐paid workers entitled to FIS. To get a sense of the scale of these losses, the table below compares net incomes for a household with a cou‐ ple and two young children, and gives examples of the impact this re‐ form would have on families at dif‐ ferent earning levels. It is clear that the lowest paid workers would face the biggest losses: l A part‐time worker, earning €200, stands to lose over €180 in in‐ come supports each week; l A full‐time minimum wage worker, earning €350 a week, would
lose just short of €100 a week. l Where the family is just over the threshold at which the second tier payment starts to be reduced – earning €500 a week – they would see their income fall by €27 per week. l In contrast, a high‐earning fam‐ ily, who would not have any entitle‐ ment at all to the second tier payment, would face losses of only €12 per week. In other words, a family relying on a full‐time minimum wage, plus FIS, would lose over EIGHT times more in cash income supports than a fam‐ ily at the top of the earning scale. (See table below)
FIS is far from a perfect solution to the difficult problem of low wages. But it is a vital lifeline to many low paid families – and could be for many more. The ESRI has estimated that poverty could be reduced by three percentage points if everyone who was entitled to FIS actually received it. That’s a much more impressive impact on poverty than the reduc‐ tion of 0.2 percentage points that the Advisory Group’s proposals would achieve. We need to do much more to sup‐ port low‐paid working families. One way of doing this would be to intro‐ duce a new benefit for people in work, which could be delivered via the tax system, to boost the value of workers’ take‐home pay. The Advisory Group is currently supposed to be considering this area. But this work won’t be com‐ pleted before the next budget, when reforms to child income supports could be introduced. And it is low‐paid workers who would pay the considerable cost of that delay – and indeed the risk that no alternative would be found. That’s far too big of a risk to take. If these proposals are to be imple‐ mented, FIS must be retained until a better support for working families struggling on low pay is signed, sealed and delivered.
‘FIS is far from a perfect solution to the difficult problem of low wages... but it is a vital lifeline to many low paid families – and could be for many more...’
Am I eligible for FIS? It’s estimated that as few as four in 10 people who are eligible for FIS actually claim it. If you’re in low-paid work, it’s worth checking if you might be entitled. If: l You (or you and your partner combined) work for at least 19 hours a week (or 38 hours over a fortnight); and l You have at least one child
under 18 – or aged 18-22 if they are in full-time education; and l Your total after tax income is below the thresholds set by the DSP.
You can get an information leaflet for FIS at http://www.welfare.ie/en/downloads/sw22.pdf. Text “Form FIS” followed by your name and address to 51909 to get an application form. Standard text rates apply. Picture: images of money (CC BY 2.0) 4
y May 2013
FROM WHERE I STAND... By Brian Forbes Mandate National Coordinator WITH the demise of the Celtic Tiger and the onslaught of austerity budget after austerity budget, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Ireland would have fewer billionaires over the past number of years. You’d also be forgiven for assum‐ ing that the austerity policies imple‐ mented by Fine Gael and Labour Lite would have a similar if not more profound impact on the mega‐ wealthy as it has on those struggling on low and middle incomes. Wrong! The recently‐released Ireland’s Rich List shows that the number of billionaires has more than doubled over the past year – we have nine today, up from just four 12 months ago. As tens of thousands of house‐ holds struggle to survive the in‐ creasingly‐draconian austerity cuts imposed by our government and their Troika buddies, it seems in‐ credible that those at the very top of the wealth pile are coining it in as our society slowly crumbles under the weight of austerity. Retail magnet Hillary Weston, who has Brown Thomas in her mas‐ sive portfolio, heads up the Rich List with a wealth of €7.8bn. Denis O’Brien comes in as a com‐ paratively poor second. The mobile phone and media bigwig – who con‐ trols a lot of what we read and hear – has a modest €3.9bn, but, of course, we’re still talking telephone numbers… He is followed by investor John Dorrance at €1.85bn, financier Der‐ mot Desmond at €1.5bn and Paul Coulson – big in manufacturing and investment – who has a cool €1.1bn. Whatever the personal circum‐ stances of these incredibly rich peo‐ ple who probably couldn’t spend this amount of money in their own lifetime, it all seems hugely at odds with the notion that “we are all in this together”. This nonsensical rhetoric is pure fantasy but is regularly bleated out by government ministers and spin doctors intent on convincing us all that austerity is necessary and that we all must shoulder the economic burden and get Ireland back work‐ ing again. Utter codswallop! We are being sold a blatant lie. We are certainly not all in it together, as evidenced by the increasing vast wealth at the top echelons of Irish society set against the increasing numbers of people in massive debt and in dire poverty. Added to this number are the tens of thousands of people now labelled as working poor and who are becoming increas‐ ingly marginalised within society. “End austerity now,” was the laud‐ able call from Social Welfare Minis‐ ter Joan Burton in a speech delivered at a recent St Vincent de Paul conference. But this attempt at distancing herself from decisions she took while in government just doesn’t wash. A week may be a long time in poli‐ tics but surely we can’t forget her decision to slash social welfare pay‐ ments – a move that impacted heav‐ ily on low and middle‐income families. Decisions such as this helped cre‐ ate an even more unequal society than the one inherited by this gov‐ May 2013
That’s rich! So there IS growth in the economy
...the number of billionaires
ernment. Real wealth has not been tackled in Ireland as it doesn’t suit the conservatives running our coun‐ try and the elite they represent and protect. The time to end austerity was 26 months ago when Minister Burton and her Labour colleagues entered the unholy alliance with Fine Gael. This was not a ‘National Govern‐ ment’ as was claimed at the time but an attempt at restructuring the same old failed system of govern‐ ment and of capitalism that put us in this mess in the first place. If Minister Burton sincerely be‐ lieves what she said at the SVP con‐ ference – that “ordinary people everywhere have shouldered too much of the burden” – then perhaps she should do the honourable thing and reverse the swathing benefit
‘We are being sold a blatant lie... we are certainly not all in it together’
Picture: images of money (CC BY 2.0)
Joan Burton, left, and, above, Denis O’Brien
cuts she implemented as Minister. In so doing she would give people back a reasonable level of income rather than just bland expressions of sorrow. Austerity is working fine for peo‐ ple like Hillary Weston and Denis O’Brien as they get richer and richer but it’s crippling the families and people that Minister Burton was elected to serve and protect. Surely it is time to get priorities right and cut the rhetoric. Words alone won’t put food on the table or clothe our children. What is re‐ quired is real action and leadership. Austerity isn’t working, has never worked and will never work yet it has taken Minister Burton 26 months for the penny to drop. Fine Gael are the real purveyors of misery policies in this country but the Labour Party has been out‐ma‐ noeuvred and out‐smarted and will pay the ultimate electoral price, re‐ gardless of attempts at distancing themselves from the policies they helped implement. Ireland’s super‐rich must be laughing all the way to the bank and Fine Gael must be laughing all the way to the ballot box!
Athlone B&Q store saved from closure as Mandate team meet with Examiner A MANDATE delegation has met with the Examiner appointed to oversee B&Q’s Irish business on March 4. At the meeting, the Examiner undertook to keep the union fully briefed of developments as they occurred. On April 10, the High Court extended the Examiner’s involvement until May 9 – this will eﬀectively end the Examiner’s active involvement in the matter. In another development, it emerged that Athlone B&Q – one of outlets originally earmarked for closure – will now remain open. Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said: “Obviously this news is a welcome development for the workers in Athlone and their families. “As a result of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the business here in Ireland, we have experienced a signiﬁcant increase in union membership.” Mr Light also signalled to management that a growing membership base “would not accept in future current practice of not recognising the union for collective bargaining purposes”. He added: “One of the main objectives following the departure of the Examiner from the business will be to robustly challenge management on this issue to ensure that they aﬀord to the workforce who are members of the union the basic human right to be represented by a union of their choice.”
Why I’m in Mandate... ‘As a unionised workforce we can ensure staﬀ are treated fairly and are aware of their rights’ Martha Coﬀey, Penneys, Killarney 5
Ireland prey to forces unleashed in the crisis Spare us your judgement I’m proud of the work I do...
Shopworker Sandra (not her real name) on why she is proud to work in the retail sector
Can you outline for us very briefly the main thesis of your recent book, Ireland in the World Order: A History of Uneven Development? Ireland in the World Order at‐ tempted a historical materialist analysis of Ireland’s social and politi‐ cal development from the medieval to the modern era, in order to explain why Ireland differed so radically from other parts of the ‘United King‐ dom’. It argued that the socio‐economic structure of the Gaelic order made it difficult for the English state to integrate the Gaelic elite into an ex‐ panded ruling class. Religious change accentuated these difficulties and en‐ couraged the English state to adopt a strategy of full‐scale conquest. This conquest had long‐term social and economic consequences, result‐ ing in a social order that was premised upon maximising surplus extraction from the peasantry and which inhibited capital accumulation in the countryside. Instead of developing along lines similar to England or Scotland in the 19th century, Ireland came to display the typical characteristics of what has come to be known as ‘underde‐ velopment’. This context of underdevelopment ensured that social resistance in Ire‐ land was closely linked to a striving for national independence. The last couple of chapters explore the relationship between this histori‐ cal background and Ireland’s social and economic development in the 20th and 21st centuries. It argued that the Irish capitalist class had been shaped by this struc‐ tural underdevelopment and showed no inclination to develop an inde‐ pendent industrial base. From the 1960s onwards it sought to insert Ireland into transnational networks – above all by making it a conduit for US capital investment ori‐ entated towards the European mar‐ ket. Some of this was manufacturing in‐ dustry that created real employment but much of it was fraudulent, with the Irish state becoming complicit with tax evasion on a massive scale. While the country significantly in‐ creased its average standard of living, it also made itself deeply dependent upon foreign capital. Most of the left and the labour movement assumed
In extracts from an interview that first appeared in radical economics website politicaleconomy.ie, Dr Maurice Coakley, of Griffith College Dublin, looks at why the Irish economy was so susceptible to the 2007/08 crash and looks at broader questions of the crisis in capitalism within the global system & Ireland’s place in it
that this dependence on foreign capital was not a problem, and were wholly unprepared for the collapse occasioned by the 2007/8 financial crash. At a more general level the book argues that uneven development is intrinsic to the capitalist system. This is not just a matter of the laws of the capitalism system working them‐ selves out unevenly – though there is an element of that – but also that patterns of development are heavily shaped by politics. Global capitalism is a hierarchal system, and states play a central role in moulding that hierarchy.
How do you see the current crisis as fitting into this thesis? The failure of the Irish state to pursue a course of independent economic development has made the Irish economy exceptionally vulnerable in the event of crisis. The Irish state found itself with very limited leverage to negotiate with the institutions of global and regional governance. To make matters worse the politi‐ cal elite has become closely inter‐ woven with a rentier/financial oligarchy whose interests are very removed from any development proj‐ ect, or from the needs of the wider population. The crisis also showed that behind all the rhetoric of equality and solidarity between European nations, the European Union retains a hierar‐ chy of nation‐states and any spirit of mutual solidarity between these na‐ tions is shallow. If Ireland desires more economic control what policies should it pursue? The crucial arena for establishing a modicum of self‐determination is the financial one. The debt burden
imposed upon the population is not only immoral, it is also impractical. It effectively condemns the state to extended stagnation, which will be accompanied by a gradual but accumulative reduction in social spending and social rights. Beyond that there is a pressing need to for the Irish state to establish democratic control over the whole financial system. Formal nationalisa‐ tion of the banks is not enough. The AIB, for example, is already state‐owned but continues to operate as a private bank servicing its own executives. The state doesn’t want to control the private banks because that would bring them under public scrutiny and it would encourage popular demands that national savings be used to im‐ prove the material and social infra‐ structure, and not just to enrich the elite and their hangers‐on. Capital control would be needed to make this effective. These measures would probably be inconsistent with membership of a single currency as it is presently constituted. This programme is fairly modest but it would face massive opposition from the whole of the Irish elite and from the European Union (at least as it is presently operates). Given the weakness of left‐wing politics in Ireland, it might seem that we face a near impossible task. However, the destructiveness of the austerity programmes and the increasingly self‐defeating character of European Union policies ensure that Ireland would be very unlikely to be alone in its battles to protect its society against the demands of Brussels.
WHEN I am asked what I do for a living, I often feel I have to validate my choice of job. I am currently employed in retail and have spent most of my adult life working in this sector. I am 25 years old, have a psychology degree and have work experience in several areas as I have worked since I was 16. On completing my degree I did some travelling as well as some work that was slightly related to my course. However, this type of work was temporary and not to my liking so when I returned home I sought work in retail. Over and over I endure comments such as, “You’ll not stay at that will you?” and “What else could you do?” from well-meaning relatives and friends. Many of these people do not understand the current devaluation of all types of degrees and that being educated doesn’t exempt you from working in a lowly-paid job. I’m sick of these sanctimonious comments and the pressure to pick a more traditional public service job such as teaching. I admire teachers but I know this is not for me.
My job may not be highly paid or require special skills but that does not mean I lower myself to do it. It is my choice to work in this area, I am grateful for my work and I wish others would respect my choice. Not only has my choice of work been sneered at but also my choice to work. In the past people have criticised my work ethic and told me to “go on the social” instead of working two part-time jobs, both in retail. I am bored of these attitudes that surround working in retail and I’m sure the comments resonate with many fellow retail workers. I am proud of what I do. I work hard. Working in retail is nothing to be ashamed of. Retail employees work hours that a lot of other people would not even consider, i.e. threehour shifts and working on holidays and bank holidays. Christmas is a foreign concept as most of us work Christmas Eve and St Stephen’s Day. Please spare us your judgement and condescension, we don’t need it.
Check out the full interview at http://politicaleconomy.ie/?p=487
JAMES Petras, a leading expert on the politics of South America, is to give this year’s James Connolly Memorial Lecture at the New Theatre, Temple Bar, on Saturday, May 11. He will be speaking on the global assault on workers’ rights and conditions with especial reference to the experience of workers in Latin America, who have suﬀered decades of “austerity” to 6
pay oﬀ debts that did not belong to them. Prof Petas, left, who has written more than 60 books, will also touch on how progressive changes are aﬀecting the lives of tens of millions of working people in Latin America, and what lessons can be drawn from this. Lecture begins at 2pm; The New Theatre, 43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin.
Picture: tjmwatson (CC BY 2.0)
What does working in retail or being a member of Mandate mean to you? Email Shopfloor at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know in under 350 words SHOPFLOOR
y May 2013
Mandate launches bar survey
MANDATE has launched a survey of all workers in the bar industry. The union wants to hear from members and non-members about their living standards and conditions of employment. Commenting on the survey, Jonathan Hogan, Industrial Oﬃcer for Mandate, told Shopfloor: “We know that many workers in the industry have suﬀered cuts to their terms and conditions of employment. This includes pay
cuts, cuts to hours and cuts to other entitlements. “Employers and their representatives have attacked JLCs and other legislation that provides decent employment for bar workers. “The only way to resist these attacks is by joining Mandate and campaigning for protection of existing terms and seeking to improve on them,” he added. “This survey, which only takes 10 minutes,
will help us understand what is happening in the industry and how we can improve the working lives of our members.” If you are a bar worker or if you know one, please direct them to the following website www.tinyurl.com/BarWorkers If you would like a survey posted to you, please email email@example.com or call the union at 01 874 6321.
Tesco profits strong as Irish sales increase TESCO has increased sales in Ireland by 1.9% to €3.15 billion in the year to February 24, this year. This com‐ pares with €3.09 billion in sales in the previous year. Chief Executive Tony Keohane said the company was “pleased” to have recorded a year of growth “in what continues to be a very chal‐
lenging market here in Ireland.” Meanwhile, the parent company has announced profits of £1.96 bil‐ lion (€2.28 billion) in the year to February 13 despite announcing it will exit the loss‐making business in the US, taking a £1 billion write‐off. The company also announced a £804 million write‐down in prop‐
erty values in Britain and a half a billion pound write‐down on its business in Poland, Czech Republic and Turkey. During the past year Tesco Ireland have opened five new stores (one Metro and four Express outlets) cre‐ ating a total of 94 new jobs. Online grocery shopping also grew by 16%.
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