Building the campaign to reinstate Joanne Delaney

Joanne Delaney was sacked by Dunnes stores in November 2005 for wearing her union badge on her uniform.

Submitted by Steven. on February 4, 2006

With more than four years service in the Ashleaf store in Crumlin on the south side of Dublin, the 22 year–old MANDATE recently elected shop steward received a letter on the 29th of November 2005 informing her that she had been dismissed by the company.

Dunnes Stores has accused her of not complying with company policy in relation to the wearing of her union badge on her uniform, despite the fact that there is nothing in the policy about wearing a union badge.

Joanne had been suspended by a manager at the store since 18th October for refusing to remove the Mandate Trade Union badge from her uniform. Joanne was advised to attend a disciplinary meeting at 6.00 p.m. on Friday, 21st October . However, the meeting was cancelled due to the fact that she was accompanied by her Union Representative. The Company has continually denied Joanne the right to Union representation at meetings with management.

Responding to the dismissal, Mandy Kane, Divisional Organiser of Mandate said “This sacking is petty, vindictive and does the image of Dunnes Stores no favours whatsoever”. Its also pretty much in keeping with the anti–union record of a company that sacked workers who refused to handle goods from South Africa during the Anti–Apartheid Boycott of the mid–eighties.

Organise! organised two pickets of Dunnes stores branches, one at the Springtown outlet in Derry (on 4th February) and the other at the city centre outlet in Belfast, on Friday 3rd, that was attended by around 60 people, in order to raise awareness of Joanne’s case with Dunnes customers. Rnank and file trade unionists and NIC - ICTU officials, along with members of Organise!, the CPI, IRSP, Socialist Party, SWP, Workers Party, all joined the call for Joanne’s re-instatement. The Belfast and District Trades Union Council supported the call for action and a number of its delegates attended the Belfast picket. In Dublin Labour Youth called for action at Dunnes Stores Georges Street outlet in Dublin on Thursday February 2nd at 6pm that was attended by 30 people who stood shoulder to shoulder with Joanne.

The campaign for Joanne’s reinstatement is growing with the Community & Workers Action Group meeting with her and setting up a meeting on the 7th of February in Crumlin, Dublin to build a broad based support group.

Joanne told CWAG that she needs support locally to highlight her fight for justice, her case for reinstatement and the restoration of her right to work without intimidation as shop steward and to wear her union badge.

CWAG “see in Joanne a brave and courageous 22 year old young woman fighting a huge corporate company. She cannot and must not be left isolated at local level”.

There is a clear need to highlight Joanne’s case, build public support and put pressure on Dunnes Stores to have her reinstated. The support group envisaged by CWAG “will comprise of local community, political and trade union activists. It would be non party political in structure and be inclusive for all to participate in”.

This case must be fought and won, get involved in the campaign.

Things we can do to support the re–instatement of Joanne:

Get your union branch to pass a motion in support of Joanne Delaney

Send a message to Dunnes Stores management

Or alternatively pay a visit to the current management in Dunnes in your local Dunnes store to express your disgust at the action taken by the company and in support of Joanne Delaney.

You can also send a message to Dunnes management at:

[email protected]

or [email protected]

To send a standard protest letter to Dunnes management join the online campaign at Labourstart (where more
information can also be obtained about the dispute) at:

From the pages of Working Class Resistance, Issue 11 first quarter 2006.