Clothes shop staff in Limerick to go on strike

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Wallis in Cruises Street is to close
FASHION shop retail staff are to go on strike from Monday over plans to make workers redundant.

FASHION shop retail staff are to go on strike from Monday over plans to make workers redundant.

Pickets will be set up at women’s clothes retailer Wallis’s two stores in Limerick at Cruises Street and on the Childers Road.

Approximately 30 staff will down tools on Monday morning after workers voted unanimously in favour of Mandate-backed strike action.

Wallis, which is part of the British-owned Arcadia group, is closing its Cruises Street store this Saturday, with the loss of six jobs. And Mandate says the firm is implementing a restructuring programme in its out-of-town store at the Childers Road, in a move which has left the remainder of staff fearing for their jobs.

This is because Wallis wants to reduce the number of people working in the Childers Road from 12 to nine people - and has allegedly asked every worker to reapply for their job.

In a statement released exclusively to the Limerick Leader this Wednesday night, Mandate say that Wallis has reneged on an agreement to pay workers a redundancy package of five weeks per year of service.

Instead, they say the firm is offering 2.75 weeks per year of service.

Workers have also expressed concerns over a lack of compensation for those who will lose hours and income. Mandate’s divisional organiser Karen Wall said the company has treated workers - some with up to 28 years of service - in a “reprehensible” way.

“The company is bulldozing its way through the rights and living standards of these workers, with little or no regard for the loyal, hard work they have given the company over the years. They have essentially told the workers they are being locked out of employment from this Saturday,” she said.

Ms Wall said that Arcadia paid out a dividend of €92m last year.

She added: “We are calling on the company to do the responsible thing and abide by their own agreements, and come to a reasonable settlement before this dispute escalates.”

Wallis becomes the third store in Cruises Street which the Arcadia group has moved to close.

Dorothy Perkins and Evans have already closed in the pedestrianised thoroughfare.

A spokesperson for Wallis said the firm is seeking to redeploy as many staff as possible elsewhere in Ireland.

The action begins at 9.30am in Cruises Street and the Childers Road this Monday morning.