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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 19 August, 2019
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THOUSANDS of protesters descend on Dunnes Stores HQ

Dublin’s city centre came to a standstill as the Mandate-organised protest march thronged the streets.

Dunnes  Stores 981 copy Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

A LONG-AWAITED Dunnes Stores protest march took over Dublin’s city centre this afternoon.

As predicted by Mandate, the Dunnes’ workers trade union, thousands of protesters were present for what felt like almost a carnival atmosphere.

Long before the march kicked off at Government buildings on Merrion Square the protesters seemed very much in the mood with the #decency4dunnes hashtag trending on Twitter across Ireland.

 

The march kicked off eventually and snaked its way across Stephen’s Green before thronging Aungier Street where a stage had been set up directly outside Dunnes Stores HQ.

Chants, whistles, what sounded suspiciously like an air-raid siren, and drums were the order of the day as the protesters made their presence felt.

Source: Cianan Brennan/Vine

20150606_135026 Source: TheJournal.ie

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The march was of course dedicated towards Mandate’s objectives of fairer pay and secure employment contracts for Dunnes workers, and unions from across the country showed up in solidarity.

IMG_0512 Source: TheJournal.ie

This particular industrial dispute has been dragging on for a long time, but the atmosphere has been particularly bitter since the workers’ nationwide strike on 2 April.

Successive speakers on stage found the crowd in fine voice.

“If you stick with this, you can win,” Mick O’Reilly of the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers’ Union assured them.

IMG_0506 Source: TheJournal.ie

When Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions called for a vote for collective bargaining legislation in July the crowd were raucous in their approval.

IMG_0502 Interesting day for a wedding? Source: TheJournal.ie

Throughout the whole of the industrial dispute, Dunnes have steadfastly refused to comment in any way.

IMG_0504 Source: TheJournal.ie

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So, will this particular protest make a difference? One interesting aspect TheJournal.ie found about the whole enterprise is that actual Dunnes workers on the protest were hard to find.

“They can’t march – they’d be sacked,” one protester assured us.

25-year-old Dubliner Glen Fitzpatrick told TheJournal.ie that it’s “what comes next that matters”.

Fitzpatrick doesn’t work for Dunnes but was marching in solidarity with the workers.

“This is all great, and the movement has really picked up in the two months since the strike, but it’s important to keep it going now if we want to see a real difference being made,” he said.

And it’s important to make that difference, we’re basically dealing with the Irish version of Walmart here.

IMG_0514 Roslyn Fuller and Glen Fitzpatrick at today's protest march on Aungier Street, Dublin Source: TheJournal.ie

“They (Dunnes) must be feeling some pressure at this point,” Roslyn Fuller (35) from Canada told us.

Big stores and corporations have gotten too used to having their own way with their workers.
It’s very important that people came out today, and as you may have noticed there aren’t that many people here actually working with Dunnes.
This whole day is a brilliant show of solidarity.

Read: Dunnes Stores workers call on people to join them for today’s march

Read: Zero-hour contracts: What companies use them and what’s being done about it?

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