Details given of Dunnes Stores unease

 

SHOP stewards at Dunnes stores complained of "intimidation" since last summer's strike at the company.

A steward at a large Dublin branch, who asked not to be named, said that his position had become "unbearable. All telephone calls must go through the manager and I often receive messages from the union at the end of, the day.

"Often the manager stands over me looking at his watch, breathing down my neck. I have to ask permission to leave my department. I feel like a five year old child at national school."

Another Dublin shop steward said. "I had the exact same experience. I was told I was spending too much time on union business."

On one occasion "if took a lengthy bitching match to get a call put through" from his union official. "Union literature cannot be brought onto the premises in some stores", he added.

"I've seen friends and colleagues resign as shop stewards or leave because of the intimidation."

Mr Brian Higgins, divisional organiser in Limerick, said the time had come when the company had to make a decision about how it did business with Mandate. "I appeal to Dunnes Stores management to either do the business as the vast majority of employers do their business, or face another serious confrontation with the union," he said.

"I think we have the confidence and the experience to prosecute another successful dispute with this company.

However, in the debate on whether to move from annual to biennial conferences one delegate said the union strike fund had shrunk from over £1 million to £200.000 because of the Dunnes Stores dispute. The delegates, who heard that conferences cost £100,000 to hold voted to meet biennially.