Multiples in the Irish Republic are facing a 10% pay hike claim by Mandate, the union representing 40,000 retail staff.
According to Mandate general secretary John Douglas, the claim, which would mean a €40-a-week increase for senior staff, will be served next month on Tesco, Dunnes Stores, SuperValu, Marks & Spencer and the market’s other major players.
The retail sector was one of the most profitable in
the economy, he said.
Companies would be “treated on the basis of their ability to pay”, with the stronger ones used as a benchmark for increases across the sector.
The pay claim follows Mandate’s recent withdrawal from the social partnership process, involving trade unions, employers and government, that has decided national pay deals in the Republic of Ireland for the past 20 years.
At the time, Douglas claimed that lower paid retail workers were losing out in centralised bargaining and that Mandate could do better going it alone.
The increase now being sought is far in excess of the terms of the current national deal, which offered a 12% pay rise spread over 38 months. That deal is now ending, but both the government and employers had been keen to keep Mandate within the partnership process, arguing that such an approach ensures industrial stability and economic growth.
While there has been no official comment on the 10% claim from the multiples, it is certain to be resisted.
The high prices Irish consumers pay, in comparison with their counterparts in the UK and Europe, are already being blamed on what Tesco has called “the high cost of doing business in the Republic”.
Critics have pointed to the Irish minimum wage of €7.65 an hour as being one of the highest in the EU.
Meanwhile, Mandate has won a significant victory at the Irish Labour Court in a case taken against Dunnes Stores.
The company, which does not negotiate with unions, refused to allow Mandate representatives to attend a disciplinary hearing against three suspended staff.
The court ruled that the retailer was wrong to do so and told it that it must change its disciplinary procedures.
Widespread speculation that Wal-Mart Germany is planning to acquire discount chain Norma has been dismissed by market commentators.
“All laws of logic say this is just a rumour. Wal-Mart will not be interested in Germany’s fifth discounter,” said one expert.
The long-running speculation that Wal-Mart was interested in struggling hypermarket chain Real was far more credible, he said. Real operates 287 stores in Germany and is owned by the Metro Group.

Without paying the settlement charges, Ahold would have recorded an operating profit of E258m on net sales up 0.7% in the quarter to E10.2bn.
Meanwhile, Ahold has announced plans to boost the profitability of its US foodservice subsidiary by splitting it into two units.
Broadline will handle public sector contracts while Multi-Unit will deal with the large chain restaurants business.

Anthony Garvey
Global retail group Ahold has recorded a third- quarter operating loss of E638m, which includes E896m to settle a class action lawsuit in the United States.
US grocery chain Marsh Supermarkets is considering putting itself up for sale. The group, which operates in Indiana and Ohio, said that it was “exploring strategic alternatives for the enhancement of shareholder value”. It has reported a second-quarter net loss of $3.4m on a 0.7% fall in like-for-likes to $777m.
Retail sales in Japan fell 0.3% month-on-month in October, government data has revealed. The year-on-year growth rate dropped to -0.3% from 0.1% in September - the first time that annual sales volume growth has fallen into minus figures in eight months.
Shares in Danone have been increasing amid speculation that US food group Kraft Foods is preparing a bid. In July shares in Danone soared amid speculation that PepsiCo was interested in bidding.
n not credible
n class blow
n marsh sale?
n japan flat
n danone bid