Hundreds demonstrate in support of Connolly Shoes strikers in Dun Laoghaire


The Mandate Trade Union reported that hundreds joined the rally it had called for lunchtime today in Dun Laoghaire in support of Connolly Shoes workers who have been on strike for almost two months.

“The workers in Connolly Shoe’s two stores in Dun Laoghaire have been on strike since early April because of the aggressive behaviour of their employer. Connolly Shoes has unilaterally imposed reduced working hours on their staff and has sacked two staff with over 30 years service each because they wouldn’t sign a document accepting these reduced hours,” Gerry Light said.

Mr Light explained that the current strike – which was last week granted ‘all-out strike’ status by the ICTU – is the end result of a long and protracted period of industrial relations difficulties at Connolly Shoes.

“Last autumn, the workers held a strike but the action was suspended as a result of agreements reached between the workers and their employer which would see staff working reduced hours as a compromise. However, since then management have:

• Reneged on that agreement with regard to staff working a 3 day week. They have changed rosters and further reduced hours without consultation;
• Issued an ultimatum to certain staff insisting that they agree to work any roster issued by management and perform any duties that management deem necessary or else face dismissal;
• Actually dismissed two employees, each with more than 30 year’s service, for not signing this document;
• Been found guilty of breaches of the Payment of Wages Act, but have refused to pay the compensation awarded to staff;
• Continued to refuse to recognise Mandate Trade Union or to attend Labour Relations Commission or Rights Commissioners’ Hearings.

“Mandate and the workers involved have made genuine efforts to resolve all of the issues with the employer in order to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. However, we have been met with continued aggression and hostility since we called off the initial strike. It’s clear that management played off the trusting nature of their employees by negotiating a settlement in order to end the dispute, and then continued with the unilateral deterioration of their terms and conditions,” concluded Mr Light.