The Mandate Trade Union has welcomed Dunnes Stores’ decision to concede its claim for a 3% pay rise for the retailer’s workforce. The company has today been informing its 14,000 staff that it will be increasing their pay by the 3% sought by Mandate in 2013. Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary, Gerry Light, explained that the last pay increase received by Dunnes Stores’ staff was in December 2007. “Mandate and our members recognised that like every other sector of the economy, the retail trade has had to weather the economic crisis. This is why many retail workers have foregone pay increases over the last few years – some indeed have taken cuts – and have given considerable flexibility to their employers. Indeed, even in companies where pay rates haven’t been cut many workers’ incomes have declined because of significant reductions to their working hours and they have also been badly affected by rising prices, tax rises and the cuts to public services and welfare payments like Child Benefit.” Light said that most retail companies have emerged intact from the crisis and have remained highly profitable – indeed, industry sources estimate that Dunnes Stores is generating sales in the region of €3.8 billion annually and is achieving significant profits – due in large part to the efforts of their staff. “Since early 2011 Mandate Trade Union has sought to engage with retail employers to put in place pay arrangements that reflect their workers’ contribution to that success. The vast majority of employers have engaged with us and through negotiation, we have been able to put in place a variety of agreements that reflect the economic and trading conditions being experienced by those companies.” Gerry Light said that as a result of this process – and with Dunnes’ concession of the union’s pay claim today – over two-thirds of Mandate’s 45,000 members will have experienced pay increases by 2013 ranging from 1.5% to 3%. Concluding, Light said that while he welcomed the company’s concession of the 3% pay claim, he was disappointed at Dunnes Stores’ continuing failure to respect their staff’s right to be represented by a trade union. “Unlike many of the other major retailers – who are still extremely successful – Dunnes refuses to engage with their staff’s union of choice and didn’t even attend the Labour Court today. One would have hoped that such a dismissive approach to dealing with their staff, their union and the Labour Court would have long gone by now. However, the company persists in being high-handed in its dealings with their workers at local and national level as well as the institutions of the State. Hopefully, they might learn from some of their competitors that treating people with respect is in fact a business asset, not a liability.”