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Result in Marks and Spencer strike ballot due today

The staff from four stores were balloted on strike action last Friday.

Image: Rui Vieira/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE RESULT OF a ballot of staff from four Marks and Spencer stores on whether they will undertake strike action will be announced today.

The Mandate staff are considering striking after talks at the Labour Relations Commission broke down.

They were balloted on Friday – the day before the four stores were permanently closed – and the result is expected at around 2pm today.

Ballot

Mandate Trade Union balloted their 180 Marks & Spencer (M&S) members from four stores -  Dun Laoghaire, Mullingar, Naas and Tallaght – for strike action as a result of talks breaking down in the Labour Relations Commission (LRC) on Thursday.

M&S said previously that the stores had remained unprofitable during what had been a “very challenging” time for businesses in Ireland.

The union said the company has “refused to discuss alternatives to the compulsory redundancy notice that was issued to the workers in the stores ” the week before last, and that the workers have been left with no alternative but to ballot for industrial action.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary, Gerry Light said:

Management have rejected outright the possibility of redeployment through a voluntary redundancy scheme and have even refused to release details of the redundancy package that would be provided to our members, who are still adjusting to the devastating news that they will be losing their jobs.

Mandate wrote  to the company “outlining how it is their opinion that the manner in which the company is refusing to explore possible employment alternatives is in breach of the Protection of Employment Act, 1977″ and has called on it to do what is right by their workers and begin meaningful negotiations immediately.

It is prepared to sit down with the company to discuss the issues, but says it needs a commitment from management “that they will abide by their statutory obligations and take the threat of compulsory redundancy off the table”.

Mandate has also informed the company that the situation has the potential for escalation if positive engagement with the union is not implemented without further unnecessary delay.

The union is also in discussion with other Marks and Spencers staff member over issues such as bonuses, premiums and weekend rates, and some middle management positions. Negotiations on these are expected to begin next week.

Read: Union to meet with Marks & Spencer workers over job losses

Read: Four ‘unprofitable’ M&S stores to close with the loss of 180 jobs>

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