Redundancy plan finalised at Eason

More than 140 Eason staff will made redundant, with changes made to staff contracts and pay for new starters cut, if the proposals agreed by the Irish bookseller and workers' union Siptu are accepted by union members.

For months Eason and Siptu have been engaged in talks about how the Irish bookseller’s plans to restructure the business and make €8m (£6.8m) of cost savings across the company would affect workers, with the final number of redundancies now settled on at 147 full time equivalent roles.

Karan O'Loughlin, Siptu sector organiser for wholesale and retail, who represents 1,000 of Eason's 1,200 employees, said all the redundancies would be voluntary and take place over 12 months as Eason incorporates new technology into the business.

The proposals, which will soon be put forward for Siptu members and members of fellow union Mandate to vote on, also mean all staff will have to transfer to a new-style contract which will see them working six days a week instead of five. The proposals also mean new starters will begin on a wage of €9 (£7.72) an hour to be capped at €12 (£10.29)-an-hour on the top scale for a retail general assistant, whereas currently pay is capped at €14.50 (£12.44).  Overtime will also be paid at time-and-a-half instead of double time if the changes are accepted.

O’Loughlin said the changes would begin from 1st January 2012. “The proposals mean significant changes for the people we represent but we are comfortable what we have agreed is within the industry norms for retail in Ireland," O’Loughlin said. “We hope we have done enough for the company to trade into the future as Eason is a well-known brand name in Ireland and we hope to keep it that way for the next generation.”

After a consultation with union Mandate and Siptu members, a ballot to vote on the propositions will be organised.

Eason said it would not comment until the process had been concluded.