November 4th: Unite Regional Officer, Sean Smyth, expressed his union’s disappointment with the job loss announcement and manner of its delivery:
“Dunnes stores has announced that it proposes to close its food hall in the Park Centre, Belfast with the loss of approximately fifty jobs due to adverse trading conditions. This is a cruel blow which will mean dozens of workers face redundancy in the weeks before Christmas.
“This job loss announcement is a severe setback for an area which is classified as highly disadvantaged under all deprivation measures. Those who face redundancy include full-time and part-time workers from every background, including students.
“Dunnes approach in making this job loss announcement, in which they have refused to engage with Unite who represent workers involved, demonstrates their poor regard for the right to collective representation. This has led to the situation where over the past four or five weeks the entire workforce at Dunnes in the Park Centre have been left to deal with mounting anxiety over the uncertainty hanging over the site. This is a disgraceful situation.
“Even at this late stage, we call on management to engage positively with us on their proposal with a view to mitigation and securing the best possible outcome for those affected”, Mr Smyth concluded.