Independent Media Centre Ireland

Workers at Co-op Superstore in Cork begin sit-in protest at redundancy announcement

category cork | worker & community struggles and protests | press release author Friday August 14, 2009 10:32author by Darren C

Sixteen workers at a Co-op Superstore in New Square, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork are holding a sit-in protest as a result of the company announcing redundancies without discussions with their union. The company, which is partly owned by Dairygold and their shareholders, have also announced the closure of their Patrick Street store in Fermoy, Co. Cork with the loss of eight jobs.

Management at the company told the sixteen members of staff in Mitchelstown yesterday (Wednesday, 12 August 2009) that the store would close on Sunday, 16 August and that the workers would receive statutory redundancy of two weeks pay per year of employment along with notice payments.

The workers say they are disappointed the company breached agreements with their representatives, Mandate Trade Union, and failed to engage in any discussions regarding the redundancies.

Lorraine O’Brien, Divisional Organiser with Mandate said, “The workers have told me they will be operating a sit-in protest due to the failure of the company to engage in any meaningful consultation with them or their union. They have said they will not be moving from their current position without proper discussions with Mandate and they are prepared to hold out for ‘as long as necessary’ in order to make their position known.”

Ms O’Brien went on to say, “This is clearly a situation neither the union nor the workers want protracted any longer than necessary and it was not an easy decision for the workers to make. Some of the women involved in the protest have young children at home and this will obviously be a distressing time for them and their families.”

In an effort to resolve the situation as quickly as possible, Mandate has requested an urgent meeting with the company today but Management have indicated they are currently not available to meet with the union.

Mandate say they are also troubled by redundancy notices issued in another Co-op Superstore in Fermoy, Co. Cork where eight staff members have been told their store will close on Saturday, 15 August 2009. The staff members have been told they will receive the same statutory redundancy as the Mitchelstown store but again, the union claim this occurred without discussions. Mandate is concerned that a similar situation to the Mitchelstown one could occur if management don’t act immediately to resolve the situation.

Ms O’Brien concluded by saying that she believes the treatment of these workers is a terrible reflection on the company considering some of the staff members have given loyal service for 38 years. She said the workers and their families deserve better than to be told their job is gone at the end of the week without any consultation.

David Gibney, Montague Communications on 01- 8303116 or 087- 7992 480

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