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Eason trade union talks begin

Trade union talks about how Eason's new strategic plan will impact on workers have commenced.

Union Siptu told The Bookseller it had finally received an official invitation from the Irish bookselling chain to discuss the company's planned restructure, which will involve a €20m cash injection and €8m cost saving-programme over three years.

Eason m.d Conor Whelan, who has faced two votes of no confidence from unionised management staff in the last two months, has already admitted the plans are likely to involve compulsory and non-compulsory redundancies.

However, Siptu representative Graham Macken said the union would be “completely opposed" to any enforced job losses.

He said: “We will approach the meeting with an open mind, we are not going to pre-empt anything. The company has announced it will make €8m cost savings from the business, so we will listen to what they have to say and see where and how they hope to achieve that. At the same time, Eason will be giving us an overview of where they see the business going and what they hope to achieve."

He added: “I have no idea how long formal talks will last, but while they are ongoing we will not be releasing any details until negotiations have ended or talks break down."

Eason has revealed it hopes to refurbish its 60 shops and become a “destination department" for children and young adults. It also intends to redesign its catalogue and website, as well as increase its total digital sales from very low single digit figures to around 8-10% of its total revenue.

A spokeswoman for Eason said: “Eason has commenced a consultation process with employees and their representatives in relation to a new strategic plan.

“While the consultation process is underway, no details will be disclosed."