Dear mandate, My name is***** work for the XXXXXXXX, specifically I am contracted to XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, Dublin 2. I am a part - time sales assistant, working 20 hours a week and have worked in XXXXXXXX the last 8 years. I'm contacting you today for some possible guidance. I've sent my form out and am in the process of joining mandate. Nonetheless, I need some advice on a possible dispute in my workplace. As of yet, there is no official dispute but it may unravel in the next two months. My problem is not complicated and I will try to explain it in as simple terms as I can. Employees in our store were informed sometime in June last year, that our flagship store would be closing down, along with the two shops in Jervis street shopping center. XXXXXXXX, it was announced in the meeting was seeking a larger store on the same scale as their Dundrum branch within the confinments of town. We (the employees) were obviously devastated to hear that our jobs were under threat. Little information was delivered since that announcement last June. XXXXXXXX, the HR department and our store and line managers said they would endeavor to get everyone a contract in a different store. Most of the original staff on that day, when we received the meeting have since left. Only a few remained, loyal till the bitter end. Many experienced staff members chose not to seek a job within Next and opt for redundancies. Last June, I needed a job, so I was open, yet reluctant to the idea of accepting a contract elsewhere. Ideally, I wanted to stay in Grafton Street. Nonetheless, despite an upturn in the economy and our branch having a significant boost in sales (we went from something like - 8% to plus + 8% on target overall for the season or year) we were told the company still wished to rid themselves of our branch. I was contacted by the assistant store manager, Rachael XXXXXXX ( who has since left as of yesterday) that they had a contract in Dundrum. I mulled over the idea, putting my name down for consideration. I live in Crumlin, specifically Crumlin Park and reaching Dundrum is out of the way to say the least. To directly reach Dundrum from Crumlin I'd have to walk some fifteen to twenty minutes to the Ashleaf shopping centre. The bus itself, is infrequent coming every 40 minutes. Then the 17 stop doesn't directly leave you outside Dundrum, it is another 10 - 15 minute walk from the stop. The alternative, is to get either two buses, one into town and one to Dundrum. The other option is to get a bus into town and a luas this is also more costly. Both are quite time consuming as you can imagine. Rachael ( The assistant manager) recently approached me, some two months ago saying I needed to sign a piece of paper saying I'd leave for Dundrum when our Grafton Street, store closed. I again was reluctant, not wishing to sign. She insisted that if I didn't sign, the contract would be gone. Allocated to someone entirely new. She insisted she was just looking out for me stating that Andrew Jack, ( the store manager) needed me to sign, otherwise I'd lose that potential option. I was reluctant, again. Saying I needed another while to think, she persisted, stating it was now or never. I didn't want to but I reluctantly signed a piece of paper that she scribbled on, stating I'd go to Dundrum when the shop closed and take a 15 hour contract. I'm in the process of getting a copy of this. I must state however, that this wasn't a contract, rather an agreement that I would go to Dundrum. I panicked, I had booked an expensive holiday in June, and needed money or a job for when I got back. We soon heard news that Hugo Boss would be taken over our branch, this information was given after it had been published in the newspaper. As you know newspapers get a story the night before, we got the information the day, the story was printed. My line manager (womenswear), David XXXXXX then approached me and other staff members with contracts for Jervis. This was ideal, they were close to town, easily accessible. I had a look and seen a 17 and half hour contract, I said I'd think about it. He said 'no you have to say yes now, or whoever says yes first gets it.' I said, 'I need to think. I thought I could think that is, I thought Next were a fair company. Are we not meant to all (whoever) wants the job, meant to apply for a contract and then the management devices based on your performances reviews etc'. He said, 'No, Andy (store manager) wants to know who wants them now.' I hurriedly put my name down. They made calls and I was told the contract was secure for me. Rachael ( assistant manager) rang me the next day, stating that my contract in Dundrum would be allocated to someone else. It was gone and I couldn't get it back. That was fine with me. A few days after, after much deliberation and noting that my expensive holiday was looming and Next still hadn't closed, I decided I would just take redundancy. The choice was made easier by the fact I had saved and planned and that the store had to give myself 4 weeks notice. Reports in the newspaper stated Hugo XXXXXX wished to move in during the summer. The company and my store manager informed us he didn't know anything as of yet. So, I decided that I didn't want to go to Jervis. I hadn't signed any paper, I had just put down my name. I wish to enroll in full time education again next academic year and the contract offered in Jervis would be, excuse the pun, redundant. I informed Andrew ( store manager) he said, it was a pain that I was changing, but he'd support me and wanted what was best for me. He said he'd contact Catriona ( can't remember her last name, but she's the heads responsible for southern Ireland). He contacted her, she said I was still promised to Dundrum. I said, I haven't signed a contract, I don't have to go, but he said. That because I initially promised on that piece of paper, I'd have to go, regardless. He contacted HR, they said the same thing. HR also stated according to him, that if this shop (next grafton street) was to remain open I would still stay, so I have to stay and go to Dundrum. Circumstances have changed, it has been a year. I changed my mind, I didn't sign any contract and am researching and mounting a defence. I received misinformation from all my managers and now I'm being told I have to accept a contract I was told was completely gone. Next Plc are committed to employing people. But it's pretty obvious they're committed to misinformation. Also why was I allowed to look at contracts if I was promised to Dundrum? I was wondering, what do you think?! Can you advise me?! If you can't, I appreciate you reading this and will endeavour to get my redundancy alone. If you can help, I thank you. Yours Sincerely, ***** *****
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Republic of Ireland Law