TK Maxx bought Wicklow staff ‘two goldfish in a bid to halt strike’

The Arklow’s store employees will stage industrial action on Saturday over pay dispute


Workers at the TK Maxx outlet in Arklow are to stage a one-day strike next Saturday in a dispute over pay, hours and rosters.

The trade union Mandate said the company had “reluctantly gave a small pay increase” and even “bought two goldfish” as a “peace offering” but members wanted a permanent solution to problems.

It said it had taken a case to the Labour Court in relation to banded hour contracts, pay scales and advance notice of rosters.

The union claimed that TK Maxx, through the employers’ body Ibec had informed the Court that it would not be attending or heeding the Labour Court process because they had “direct employee engagement processes in place”.

Mandate said the refusal of the company to allow their workers representation “has left them with no alternative but to strike”.

Mandate divisional organiser for Wicklow Michael Meegan said: “Once again we have a highly profitable and very successful multinational retailer refusing to engage with their workers through their representatives and ignoring the State’s industrial relations processes. This is regrettable and very frustrating for our members who have very reasonable demands.”

“TK Maxx workers are low paid, they have insecure working arrangements and their rostering is very unreliable. We have seen some improvements in conditions of employment since Mandate began our campaign within the company, but there is still a lot left to be achieved.”

Mr Meegan said that “in an effort to prevent the workers from obtaining lasting change in TK Maxx, the company reluctantly gave a small pay increase, began issuing two week rosters and gave some workers 20 hour contracts”.

“Remarkably, the company even bought two goldfish for the Arklow store as a peace offering or inducement not to partake in trade union activities.”

“Already the company has rolled back on some of these hard won benefits, so our members will be going on strike to achieve a permanent solution to these problems,” he said.

TK Maxx declined to comment.