Ezine facebook twitter

Deputy Lord Mayor launches Fair Shop campaign in Cork to encourage consumers to shop where workers are respected

04 Nov 2013

Mandate members at the launch of the Cork Fair Shop campaign.

The Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Michael O’Connell, tonight launched the Fair Shop campaign to encourage consumers in the city and county to shop in retail stores where workers are respected. The launch took place in the Gresham Metropole Hotel – which is a Fair Hotel – and in addition to the Deputy Lord Mayor, it was addressed by John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary and President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and Michael Taft, Unite Trade Union economist.

Lorraine O’ Brien, Mandate's Divisional Organiser in Cork explained that a Fair Shop employer is one that recognises their employees’ basic right to join a union and also very importantly affords workers’ representatives full collective bargaining rights. Across the country designated Fair Shops include Argos, Arnotts, Boots, Brown Thomas, Caulfield’s Supervalu, Clerys, Debenhams, Heaton's, Hickeys, Marks & Spencer, Penneys, Pettitt's Supervalu, Shaws, Shoe Zone, Superquinn and Tesco Ireland.

“In Cork city and county there are 16 Fair Shops and we are asking local consumers to shop with them because they respect their workers. By doing so, consumers are supporting and promoting quality employment in the Irish retail sector. We are also encouraging all consumers to take two minutes to pledge their support for the campaign and a worker’s right to have a voice in their workplace by signing the Fair Shop pledge www.fairshop.ie/Fairshop-Pledge/.”

Lorraine O’ Brien said the key driving force behind the Fair Shop initiative is the smartphone compatible website www.fairshop.ie which runs regular Fair Shop promotions, features a list of Fair Shop employers and supporters and hosts a Fair Shop location finder. Ms O’Brien then went on to explain the background to the Fair Shop initiative.

“Over recent years, there have been increasing assaults on workers’ rights, pay and conditions of service by many unscrupulous employers. This reality has been further fostered through the employer-driven legal challenge to have the Joint Labour Committees and the Registered Employment Agreements deemed unconstitutional. These employers have sought to gain an unfair and financial advantage over those competitors that do respect their employees’ entitlements. This approach needs to be challenged across the retail sector by the spending power of thousands of ethically-minded consumers. Our use of this collective and individual consumer power has the very real potential to improve conditions for workers across the retail sector and Fair Shop provides the basic information required to make those ethical purchasing decisions.”

John Douglas said that the Fair Shop campaign was particularly significant this year on the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Lockout.

“In 1913, thousands of workers fought for the right to collectively bargain and for trade union recognition. For the vast majority of workers in Ireland, that ideal is still an aspiration. However, what we can do to ensure we continue the legacy of those involved in the Lockout is to support retailers who allow their workers to avail of the basic human right to be in a trade union and to be represented for collective bargaining.”

In addition, John Douglas said the Fair Shop campaign – by encouraging consumers to shop with retailers who treat their workers fairly – is also designed to promote the value to retail companies of respecting workers and offering them a decent living income.

For more information about Fair Shop contact info@fairshop.ie