“It’s essentially a pay cut for us”- Liffey Valley staff continue protests against parking fees

 

‘No staff no centre’: Liffey Valley workers protesting in October. 

BY CONOR KENNY 

The staff of Liffey Valley shopping centre are into their second month of protesting against the introduction of car park charges for retail workers.  

Introduced in mid-October, the staff car park charges were initially set at €2.50 for the first hour, with the next 2 for free, any hour after is charged at a rate of €2.50 per hour.  

While this has been changed to a reduced rate of just €2.50 per day, the insufficient number of car park spaces in the staff car park, which is accessible for customers, means that staff who travel to work by car must park in the customer car park, which could potentially cost staff up to €15 per day. 

“A full-time employee could pay up to €15 for the day, which amounts to over €3600 per year, that is if they are denied a space in the staff car park,” said the chairperson of the protest group.  

“Retail workers are already some of the lowest paid workforces in the country, this extra charge is essentially a pay cut for all of us in the centre. 

“The designated staff car park is behind Penney’s. Staff working at the other end of the centre must travel some distance to their workplace, often having to pass through loading bays and poorly lit walkways, which is making staff feel incredibly vulnerable. 

“Staff at the centre were forced to sign the terms and conditions for the car park under duress, as if we failed to register by a specified date, we would be charged customer rates. It was only after signing this that we realised how outlandish some of the terms of use of the car park are,” said the chairperson.

 Mandate Trade Union standing in solidarity with Liffey Valley workers 

Staff at the shopping centre have been protesting the charges since 16 October, resulting in reduced footfall for businesses in the centre.

“The recent implementation of charges sees customers taking their business elsewhere if the footfall continues to drop there will be no people in the centre to shop at this new development, therefore, there could be a potential loss of livelihoods for many of the 2,500 people currently working at the centre,” said the chairperson.  

“We just hope that we can reach a resolution to this issue as it has been at the forefront of our minds since the charges were announced. 

“We feel that we have been thrown aside by employers and expected to accept these charges, all we want is for those with a meaningful voice to represent us and show their solidarity by supporting us in our efforts,” said the chairperson. 

Gino Kenny, People Before Profit T.D.says that despite the issue being raised in the Dáil, a “desired outcome” has still not been agreed upon for workers. 

“We stand with the workers because we can’t accept a third-party pay cut for workers,” said Gino.  

“The staff have been supported by the Mandate Trade Union, who have tried to contact Liffey Valley management because they represent over 1000 workers in the centre, with nothing to show for it. 

“Hines, the third-party company who is issuing the car park fees and owns Liffey Valley, has a portfolio that runs into billions and doesn’t care about the workers that work there. 

“Staff need cars to get to work, and although there are other ways to get to work, they aren’t efficient enough for these workers that may have to start early in the morning or finish late at night. 

“Do these big companies care about people who make the profits? No, they don’t,” said Gino.

Liffey Valley staff urge the public to join their weekly protests.

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