Employees at Superquinn, the smallest of the Irish multiples, have negotiated a partnership deal with the retailer that it claims could serve as a template for other Irish retailers struggling in the economic downturn.

Shopworkers' union Mandate, acting on behalf of Superquinn staff, has accepted a 12-month wage freeze and 400 redundancies in return for the company's commitment to a profit-sharing scheme for staff as soon as it returns to the black. It has also pledged that staff will pocket 1.5% of the proceedings of any future sale.

Mandate assistant general secretary Gerry Light, who helped negotiate the package, said it offered "a potential blueprint for any company suffering similar difficulties".

"Credit should go to Superquinn workers, who recognised that the business is going through challenging times and have behaved in a mature, responsible manner," he said.