Attacks on workers’ entitlements are “becoming commonplace” with the economic crisis being used “as a means to chop workers’ rights”.
This is the view of People Before Profit Alliance Galway City Centre candidate Kiran Emrich, who has spoken out against the Marks & Spencer company over its decision to close its workers’ pension scheme.
On October 31 M&S management took steps to close the workers defined benefit scheme by informing employees it was now considered a ‘discretionary benefit’. Unlike many other defined benefit schemes, which are non-performing, the M&S retirement fund is performing and is currently in surplus to €17 million.
Mandate trade union, which represents the majority of the 2,300 staff at M&S, balloted members for industrial action. The workers voted overwhelmingly for strike action, which took place across 17 stores nationally, including the Galway store, last Saturday 7.
“The strike was 100 per cent solid in Galway,” said Mr Emrich, who visited the Galway M&S picket line at the Corrib Shopping Centre on the day. “Staff on the pickets were getting a hearing and supportive reaction from the public.”
Mr Emrich said he will be at the picket line at the Corrib Shopping Centre “this week and next week too to show support and solidarity” with the striking Galway workers if they are “forced to continue their action to get a result.