Almost 10,000 workers in Dunnes Stores have seen a 10% increase in their pay today after the retail group conceded a claim from members of Mandate Trade Union.

Mandate lodged the claim with the company in March 2020 at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

Dunnes originally awarded the 10% pay increase as a temporary measure, but following a "relentless" campaign led by Mandate members in Dunnes it has now been consolidated into pay.

This means it is reckonable for pension and annual leave purposes.

"We are delighted to see the 10% in our payslips this morning, it'll make such a big difference for all of us," said Cathy McLoughlin, a Dundalk Dunnes worker and member of Mandate’s Dunnes National Committee.

"I know lots of my colleagues are struggling to pay bills after rent and house price increases, along with fuel increases. So this is a very welcome Christmas present for them," she added.

Ms McLoughlin also urged all Dunnes workers to join the campaign for further improvements to pay and benefits in Dunnes.

Mandate's Assistant General Secretary Jonathan Hogan said the pay claim was a "remarkable" victory for the union and members in Dunnes who have pushed this campaign for more than 18 months.

Mr Hogan commended the Dunnes workers for their relentless activities.

"Earlier this year the Dunnes workers launched a petition signed by more than 2,500 of their colleagues calling on the company to make their 10% Covid Premium and 20% staff discount permanent," he said.

"Then they held a protest outside Head Office to raise awareness of the campaign.

"Following this, customers launched their own petition signed by more than 7,500 in support of the workers. Now all of their activities have come to fruition and we couldn't be prouder of them," he added.