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Worker pressure forces Dunnes Stores to pay COVID-19 premium

Management in Dunnes Stores have confirmed the company will pay workers a 10% COVID-19 premium payment backdated to the 9th March 2020 following pressure from a Mandate Trade Union petition signed by more than 3,000 workers.

This brings Dunnes in line with other retailers including Aldi and Tesco, who were the first retailer to agree to a premium payment on March 21st.

Dunnes Stores have agreed to increase the staff discount card to 20% for all workers and it appears the company have also agreed to a COVID-19 sick pay scheme, according to Mandate trade union.

Mandate General Secretary John Douglas welcomed the move saying it is the minimum profitable retailers should do considering the sacrifices being made by retail workers during this pandemic.

“There are thousands of retail workers all across the country who are putting their own health at risk during this public health crisis. The very least they should expect is a 10% premium on top of their current pay rates,” said Douglas.

He added, “Dunnes workers got themselves organised and established a petition through Mandate Trade Union with three key demands: a fair premium for the hazards they’re enduring; an increase in their staff discount scheme; and a sick pay scheme that covers them if they contract the coronavirus and are required to isolate. They’ve been successful on all three fronts.

“That lesson should be learned by all other retail workers.”

Douglas said: “Retail workers deserve a premium for the hard work they’re putting in and continue to put in throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, and the best way this can be achieved is by standing together in their union.”

Dunnes Stores worker from Ballina in Mayo, Patrick Killeen, said: “Many of us are scared. While the government has told everyone to stay at home, it’s not possible for us. We have to make sure there’s food on the shelves, and we’re not taking this lightly.

“This premium payment we’ve won will help us, but the most important thing for all of us in retail is that our employer ensures our health and safety is paramount.”

Killeen concluded: “If you work in retail and you’re working through this pandemic, I can’t emphasise how important it is to be a member of your union and ensure that we’re all compensated fairly and that our health and safety is protected.”

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