Easons staff pass no confidence vote

Easons staff pass no confidence vote

The board of Easons has said it backs Conor Whelan, who has been managing director of the Irish chain since September 2009, after senior staff working in Dublin cast a vote of no confidence in him.

Irish union organisation Siptu said around 60 Dublin employees who hold the management grade in Easons were unanimous in their vote, which was cast in a recent meeting of Easons union members. The employees were from head office and individual stores around the Dublin area.

Siptu Industrial assistant organiser Graham Macken said the vote was taken because employees were unhappy about “the direction the company has been taken” over the past year.

He said: “Dissatisfaction was raised by members and the motion, a vote of no confidence in Conor Whelan, was put to the floor and every single person in the room, around 60 people, voted in favour—which is a clear indication from the managers about how they are feeling.”

The union then wrote to Easons to inform the company of the vote and to express their members concerns.

“There are several people who feel they have given a lot to the company over the years and they believe they are being replaced by less experienced people. There are people going through the process at the moment who feel they have been unfairly selected for redundancy, who have been told that there is no longer a need for their position, but they don’t feel this is the case,” Macken said.

A spokesman for Easons said the management team was being “strengthened” and that “three or four” people had been made redundant in the past 12 months, but replaced by new employees. However, he said if any formal redundancy measures were undertaken by the company, the union would be approached and consultations would be conducted in the “normal way”.

In reaction to the vote of no confidence, the spokesman said: “The board fully support Conor Whelan and his management team.”

Easons reported making a loss of €10.1m (£8.29m) in 2009. According to the Irish Independent, the book chain posted the loss in the 12 months to the end of January 2010. The paper said the loss was “largely” due to it selling the British Bookshops chain to investment firm Endless in 2009. Sales also fell 16.4% to €313.6m during the same period.

Eason operates 54 stores across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, employing more than 1,500 staff.