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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 1 October, 2014

Marks & Spencer opens stores with seasonal staff despite pickets

Trade union Mandate criticised the move as “provocative” and urged the public to support workers.

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Workers today at the Marks and Spencer store on Mary Street in Dublin (Image: Laura Hutton).

MARKS & SPENCER is using temporary seasonal staff to keep some of its smaller outlets open today as workers across the country strike.

More than 2,000 members of the Mandate trade union working at the stores are on strike today over major changes to the company’s pension scheme.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for M&S confirmed a number of the stores around the country are still open today:

Our priority is to serve our customers during this busy time of year. At stores where employees have arrived and are happy to work, we have opened our stores.

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(Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

It is understood that stores in Athlone and Navan are among those that are open today despite the strike action.

In a scathing statement, Mandate criticised the move, commenting that workers at the pickets today are astonished that their employer allowed the dispute to escalate to this stage in the firstplace.

This move is not only provocative in nature, but it is a total abuse of these type of workers who never envisaged when they signed up for work over the Christmas period they would be used in such a crude fashion to effectively break a legitimate and legal industrial dispute.

The union’s assistant general secretary, Gerry Light, said the workers do not want to be out on the streets and in shopping centres picketing their employer but they “were left with no option”.

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(Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)

He asked the public to support those on strike today and refrain from buying M&S products online today.

“We’re asking the public to support these workers who are taking the very brave decision to stand up for themselves and their families against such a powerful employer,” he said.

Two further strike days are planned for the coming weeks.

Related: More than 2,000 Marks & Spencer workers on strike today over pensions>

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

Read: Marks & Spencer staff to strike next Saturday >

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