Store workers in one-day strike
Thousands of Dunnes Stores workers are taking part in a one day strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.
Many employees at 109 shops across the Republic of Ireland are protesting against low hour contracts and pay rates and demanding greater job security and enhanced rights to trade union representation.
The action is organised by the Mandate trade union, which represents over half Dunnes' 10,000 workforce.
Stores are remaining open, with many non-Mandate members continuing to work.
The striking workers urged the public not to cross the picket lines.
Muireann Dalton, picketing Dunnes worker in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, said: "We don't want to be out on strike today. None of us can afford to lose a day's pay. But unfortunately our employer has left us with no other option so we're asking the public to support our campaign for decency at work by not passing our pickets.
"All we're asking for is the same rights that other retail workers have. We want secure hours so we can plan our lives and we want to have our voices heard. If it's good enough for Tesco, Penneys, Supervalu and Marks & Spencer workers, then why shouldn't Dunnes workers have the same rights?"
Mandate assistant general secretary Gerry Light said: "Dunnes workers are taking a very brave stance today and they have to be commended for it. Their employer has threatened them with cuts to hours, inconvenient rostering and even job losses, and remarkably they are courageously standing firm.
"Today Dunnes workers will strike for decent work and decent incomes, not only for themselves, but for their families and their work colleagues too. They're demonstrating real leadership to every low-paid, precarious worker in the country. By standing together as a unified workforce, they can and they will make real change in their workplace."
Mr Light said the strike could have been avoided, blaming management for refusing to "meaningfully engage" with workers.
Dunnes has declined to comment publicly on the industrial dispute. But in a letter issued to staff management warned a strike could hit business and, as a consequence, lead to redundancies.
Throughout the day of the strike, Dunnes is offering customers 20% off purchases made on-line.