Your pay and benefits claim explained

Last April 2019, Mandate Trade Union lodged your claim for improvements to pay and conditions for all Tesco Ireland workers.

Despite more than 7,000 Tesco members backing the claim , management have completely ignored it.

Since then the company has instead made changes to pay without consulting you or your Union.

Last October Tesco decided you should only receive a 2% pay increase, and again this year they’ve decided you only deserve 2% while removing the 10% risk payment you were receiving for being an “essential worker” during COVID-19.

The question now needs to be asked, is the risk completely eradicated, or are you just not an “essential worker” anymore?

Your pay and benefits claim, if delivered, would significantly improve living standards for all Tesco workers, including pay increases, better & fairer scheduling, full time jobs and a voice at work.

Pay increases & The Living Wage

Currently there are three pay scales in Tesco Ireland depending on the year you were employed:

Year of employment Pre-1996 1997-2006 2006-present
Est. Number of workers 178 3,300 6,000
Top rate of pay €14.89 €16.12 €13.47

All new employees in Tesco start on a rate of €10.99 per hour, but it is Mandate’s belief that where an employer can afford it, workers should be paid the Living Wage of €12.30 per hour.

This figure is determined by an independent technical group comprising of researchers, academics and economists which seeks to “provide an adequate income to enable individuals to afford a socially acceptable minimum standard of living.”

The Living Wage has already been paid by some of Tesco’s competitors including Lidl, Aldi and IKEA. And the fact is, Tesco can certainly afford to pay it too (see below).

As we all know, the cost of living in Ireland is extremely high, with housing costs rising by more than 80% since their lowest point in 2013. Meanwhile, Tesco workers’ wages have only grown by 12%.

Two separate surveys of thousands of Mandate members in Tesco indicated that “pay equality” is very high on the agenda of workers with more than 90% saying they support it . The 2019 pay & benefits claim includes one new equal payscale which rewards workers for their loyalty and their experience.

While Tesco management would prefer to harmonise worker’s pay downwards, the 2019 Pay & Benefits Claim would give all workers the opportunity to move to the highest point on the pay scale. When you factor in a pay increase for 2020, that figure becomes €16.30 per hour.

What does this mean for you? Here are a few examples.

  • For example if you were employed in 2012 and you work 30 hours per week, it will mean an extra:
    • €2.83 per hour
    • €84.90 per week
    • €4,414 per year.

Here’s a chart that should help any post 2006 workers calculate what increase you would be entitled to should the claim be successful, including the annual benefit based on the hours they work.

Screenshot 2020-06-22 at 10.33.53

Scheduling & hours

Pay rates are only one part of your weekly wage. Having secure hours and fair rostering is just as valuable. Your claim, based on feedback from Tesco members, is to seek fairer scheduling for a better work/life balance including greater certainty over working patterns and 4-week advance notice of rosters.

Is the claim affordable for Tesco Ireland?

Tesco do not disclose their profits in Ireland. The profits are, however, lumped in with the profits obtained in the UK. This gives us some information on how the business is doing across the two islands, but all indicators show Ireland is a far more profitable jurisdiction than the UK, so these figures are conservative estimates on how the business is doing.

Revenue & Sales

Tesco’s revenue across the UK & ROI has increased by 23% since 2016 – from £43bn to £53bn. Sales have also increased by 23% from £37bn to £45.7bn with an extra £8.5bn rolling through the cash registers.

Revenue

Sales

Profits

The profits for the UK & ROI is where we see a real indication of how the company is doing. Between 2016 and 2020 the company has increased its operating profit by a staggering 226% – from £597m in 2016 to £1,944m (€2.15bn) in 2020.

Operating Profit

When you factor in Tesco has an extra 225 stores now compared to 2016, yet those stores operate with 14,610 less full-time equivalent workers, it means workers are doing more work and generating more revenue for the company than ever before.

No of stores

With the reduction in staff and the increase in profits combined, we see that the company went from a profit per employee in 2016 of £2,648 to £9,223 (€10,235 per employee). That’s an increase of almost 250%.

Profit PFTE

Dividends

The company’s success has led to rewards. Unfortunately those rewards are not being shared adequately among workers, but are instead being distributed to shareholders and to senior management.

While there was no dividend issued in 2016 or 2017, since then, shareholders have had a massive increase in their rewards. Dividends increased from £3 per share in 2018, to £5.77 in 2019 and now £9.15 for 2020 (a 205% increase in three years).Dividend

To give you an idea of the impact this has, it means almost £900m in dividends is being paid out this year. That’s almost one billion euros.

Screenshot 2020-06-22 at 11.15.48

From Tesco Annual Report

Executive pay

While workers received small pay increases in recent years, they simply do not compare with executive pay, either in percentage terms of in real terms.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis received a 17.5% pay increase in 2017, moving his remuneration up to £4.9m (€5.4m).

Only a number of weeks ago, it was announced that Mr Lewis received a further 39% increase in pay bringing his salary up to £6.42m (€7.1m). That’s an overall pay increase of 59% in three short years.

The Tesco CEO now earns 355 times the wage of his lowest paid employee in the UK and 327 times the wage of the lowest paid employee in the Republic of Ireland.

COVID19

While the full impact of COVID is yet to be seen, what we do know is that “overall grocery sales increased by a whopping 25.4% over the 12 weeks leading up to May 17, the fastest rate of growth recorded in more than 15 years.” The same figures show that alcohol sales are up 93%.

An earlier analysis showed that Tesco’s sales increased by 16.7% up to the 19th April, compared to the same period last year.

Kantar’s most recent analysis states: “Tesco also recorded formidable sales growth this month.  Its typically larger stores allowed it to capitalise on the increase in trolley shops and the grocer grew by 23.7% to hold 21.8% of the market.”

So it seems Tesco has weathered the COVID19 financial storm quite well.

Mandate Pay Claim

Mandate estimates that Tesco is generating between €250m and €370m in profit from its Irish operations. The full cost of implementing the pay and benefits claim, including increases in Employers’ PRSI, would come to approximately €27m, meaning the company would lose approximately 10% of its profits while its workers, the people who generate those profits, would experience drastic improvements to their living standards.

Remember, Tesco is paying a dividend to shareholders this year worth €1bn, or 27 times the amount this pay claim would cost.

We believe this is a fair and realistically achievable claim, should all workers stay united in their union and be prepared to take action if necessary. Of course, management will tell you that it is not possible. It’s in their interests to keep your pay low because the lower you’re paid, the more that’s in the pot for management.

Next steps

If you believe you and your colleagues are entitled to better pay and benefits at Tesco Ireland, and you support pay equality, better scheduling, the implementation of full time contracts and respect for your right to trade union representation, please take Mandate’s feedback survey by clicking here and reaffirm your belief that together we should pursue this pay claim.

Together we are stronger.

www.joinmandate.ie

Mandate Update: Tesco workers push for national protest

Mandate members in Tesco Ireland are seeking a national protest with the potential for an escallation to industrial action if Tesco management continue to deny workers their right to representation.

Full statement by Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary:

In April of this year your pay and benefits claim for 2019 was launched. No doubt you are already aware of the details contained in the claim which are.

  • The creation of one equal pay scale which has the effect of moving everybody upwards in relation to what they currently earn.
  • Fairer scheduling for a better work life balance which means greater certainty over working patterns which means everyone gets a minimum a 4 week roster.
  • The creation of 1,000 full time jobs.
  • And most importantly to get your employer Tesco Ireland to fully respect and comply with all existing collective agreements negotiated in the past with your union, which means they accept your right to be individually and collectively represented by your union.

Make no mistake this last demand which calls for respect and dignity in the workplace is critical because without it your voice at work will be weakened over a surprisingly short period of time until it is silenced and ignored altogether. Of course management will tell you that you don’t need this power and that you are already in a great place to work. Over the past three years as Tesco have tried to derecognise your union you have all seen examples to show that nothing could be further from the truth.

As part of the campaign to support your current claim we gave each one of you the opportunity to individually endorse it. This you have done in your thousands, in fact your response has been exceptional and certainly without precedent. Not surprisingly despite being requested by your union to engage around the issues contained in the claim Tesco senior management have refused.

Last year a large group of key union activists from various Tesco stores around the country met to consider where we are in respect of your claim and what is required as a next step to achieve its objectives. It’s true to say that the mood at the meeting was a mixture of anger and determination. By a unanimous decision it was agreed that one final letter should be sent to the company requesting engagement on your claim.

In the event of the company continuing to ignore this reasonable request then the union should commence arrangements for a national public protest led by you the members supported by families, friends, communities, other trade unionists and political representatives. The main purpose of the protest will be to highlight the unacceptable way that Tesco have treated the Union and you its members over the past 3 years. Furthermore, it was unanimously decided that if this action does not bring Tesco to the negotiating table then we convene a national shop stewards meeting to discuss and decide on further actions up to and including industrial action at a time and manner of our choosing.

Whilst it is hoped that neither of these two actions will be necessary, if the behaviour of your employer over the past 3 years is anything to go by, then we must start to seriously make arrangements for them to happen and this work coordinated by your Shop Stewards, House Committees, Organisers and Officials will commence immediately at local store level.

At this stage we have taken all of the reasonable steps to try and get your employer to meaningfully engage with you through your union. It is clear after nearly 3 years that they are determined not to do so, equally you must be determined to show that you will not be treated like this any longer and that collectively you are prepared to bring your fight for respect and decency at work to a new level. This is what the thousands of union members who have endorsed the current claim want and whilst your employer thinks they can just ignore this reasonable demand your union does not and that’s why together we should be all determined to do something to bring about positive and lasting change for you and your fellow union members employed in Tesco Ireland.

TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER

We believe Tesco workers deserve better – do you?

Tesco members of Mandate Trade Union lodged a claim for improvements to pay and conditions of work for all Tesco workers on Wednesday, 3rd April 2019.

The claim would dramatically improve living standards for Tesco workers, including pay increases, fairer scheduling, full time jobs and a voice at work.

Pay Increases & The Living Wage

All new employees in Tesco start on an hourly rate of €10.56, but where an employer can afford it, like Tesco, workers should be paid the Living Wage of €11.90 per hour.

The Living Wage is determined by an independent technical group comprising of researchers, academics and economists and it seeks to “provide an adequate income to enable individuals to afford a socially acceptable minimum standard of living.”

As we all know, the cost of living in Ireland is extremely high, with housing costs rising by more than 80% since their lowest point in 2013. Meanwhile, most Tesco workers’ wages have only grown by 8%.

The Living Wage has already been paid by some of Tesco’s competitors including Lidl, Aldi and IKEA. Tesco can easily afford to pay it too.

Two separate surveys of thousands of Mandate members in Tesco indicated that “pay equality” is at the top on their agenda, with more than 90% supporting it. In order to achieve pay equality, we need to move workers towards one pay scale, as proposed by Mandate below.

Screenshot 2019-05-22 at 10.59.00

While Tesco management would prefer to harmonise workers’ pay downwards, which is already on their agenda (see pre-1996 dispute), the 2019 Pay & Benefits Claim would move all workers up to the highest point on the pre-2006 pay scale of €15.49 per hour. When you factor in a pay increase for 2019, that figure becomes €16 per hour.

What does this mean for you? Here are a few examples.

  • If you were employed after 2006 and you work 30 hours per week, it will mean an extra:
    • + €3.05 per hour
    • + €91.50 per week
    • + €4,758 per year.
  • If you were employed before 2006 and you work 35 hours per week, it mean an extra:
    • + €0.51 per hour
    • + €17.85 per week
    • + €928.20 per year

Here’s a chart that should help any post 2006 workers to calculate what increase you would be entitled to should the claim be successful.

Hourly benefit 20 hours 25 hours 30 hours 35 hours 40 hours Potential annual benefit
Year 1 €1.34 €26.80 €33.50 €40.20 €46.90 €53.60 €2,787.20
Year 2 €2.44 €48.80 €61.00 €73.20 €85.40 €97.60 €5,075.20
Year 3 €3.02 €60.40 €75.50 €90.60 €105.70 €120.80 €6,281.60
Year 4 €2.05 €41.00 €51.25 €61.50 €71.75 €82.00 €4,264.00
Year 6 €3.05 €61.00 €76.25 €91.50 €106.75 €122.00 €6,344.00

Is the Claim affordable for Tesco Ireland?

Tesco do not disclose their profits in Ireland. Instead they hide them within their UK figures. However, we can estimated profits using data from the Central Statistics Office and Eurostat, while also taking into account how they are doing across the UK and Ireland combined.

One indicator of how the company is doing is contained in a newspaper headline on 11th April 2019:

Tesco’s £2.2bn profit beats expectations on turnaround.”

The article continued:

“Releasing full-year results, Tesco said that its sales rose 11.3% to £56.9bn (€66.1bn) in the 12 months to February on a constant currency basis, while its operating profit surged 33.5% to £2.2bn (€2.5bn).”

In Ireland, its retail revenue, came to €2.68bn for 2018, compared to €2.57bn in the previous year, an extra €110 million.

The Irish chief executive, Kari Daniels, said the company had “increased volumes, transactions and basket sizes.”

So who is benefiting from these improvements? It seems senior executives are taking more than their fair share of the profits.

Earlier this month it was annouced that Tesco’s CEO Dave Lewis earned €5.21 million in 2018. For context, it would take a Tesco Ireland worker more than 200 years to earn what the CEO earned in just one year. That’s obscene.

Workers Wages

As for shareholders, they’re also getting their cut. Another article published in April stated: “Tesco doubles annual dividend as profits surge by a third.”

Tesco Performance

It is estimated that the company is generating between €250m and €370m in profit from its Irish operations. The full cost of implementing the Pay and Benefits Claim would come to approximately €37m, meaning the company would be required to share only 10-15% of its profits with its workers.

TescoProfitsvWages

It is clear that Tesco is a highly profitable employer, generating enormous profits, dividends and generous pay packets for its executives, so it can certainly share some of those profits with its workers if it wished to. It won’t succumb without pressure from union members though.

Tesco’s strategy to date has been to divide workers and play one group against the other. They pitted pre-1996 workers against post-1996 workers where they are refusing to pay some workers an 8% pay increase.

Once Tesco have finished with this group of workers, they will go after the next cohort, the pre-2006 group who now earn €1.18 per hour more than the pre-1996 workers. After that, it’s the post-2006 group.

The Pay & Benefits Claim for 2019 is fair and achievable provided all workers stay united in their Union. Of course management will tell you that it is not possible. Obviously it’s in their interests to keep workers’ pay low. They will probably offer a 2% or a 3% pay increase which is entirely insufficient for a company making the enormous profits that Tesco are.

Next Steps

If you believe Tesco workers are entitled to better pay and conditions of employment, and you support the Pay & Benefits Claim for 2019, you can click here to express your support.

Together we are stronger.

farmto-table-768x432

www.joinmandate.ie

Join the campaign for better work in Tesco

Dear Tesco worker & Mandate member,

Just a reminder that your union Mandate launched the 2019 Pay and Benefits Claim for all Tesco members in March of this year. Remarkably almost 60% of our members in Tesco have signed up in support of the claim. Just think about that for a moment that’s almost 6,000 workers!

It is crucially important, if we want to achieve the objectives contained within the claim, that all Tesco workers endorse them in a show of strength to the company.

From the very start the claim attracted significant support from amongst the members and as the weeks go by the word has spread about the claim along with an understanding of how it will improve the living standards of all Tesco workers which is the reason why and more and more members are endorsing it.

We are certain that the momentum achieved so far will continue however you cannot leave it to your fellow members to do the heavy lifting for you and that is why if you haven’t endorsed the claim so far you should do so today by clicking here: www.tinyurl.com/tesco2019. After all everyone will benefit therefore it is only fair that everyone takes the opportunity to support and drive the claim to a successful outcome.

Mandate will be hosting meetings and will be escalating the claim over the coming months and we look forward to your continued support.

Yours in solidarity,

Gerry Light

Mandate Assistant General Secretary

farmto-table-768x432

 

Tesco pay campaign receives huge support

Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light gives an update on the pay & benefits campaign to date. Sign the endorsement here.

farmto-table-768x432

Hello

I want to give you a quick update on your 2019 pay and benefits claim that was served on your employer Tesco Ireland just over 3 weeks ago. In that short period of time thousands of you have shown your support for the claim by endorsing it through the various means that we have made available. Indeed it would not be an over statement to say that the response so far is beyond what has ever been achieved before.

It is clear from this reaction that you and your fellow union members employed in Tesco Ireland believe in what the claim is trying to achieve. You want the right to determine what you think are the most appropriate terms and conditions for the job you do and importantly in this regard you are not prepared any longer to have a highly profitable employer make these crucial decisions for you. You should not doubt the ability of the Tesco business to afford your claim as only last week the media was full of reports outlining a 22% rise in pre-tax profits to £1.6 billion on the back of sales that have risen 12% to £64.5 billion. It’ about time your employer not only recognises but rewards staff for the vital role they have played in delivering these impressive results. Your support for the claim also indicates that you want the introduction of greater equality of treatment, particularly when it comes to pay.

Regrettably but not surprisingly you employer so far has not responded to two letters sent by your union requesting a meeting to consider the claim. Against this reality the question is quite simple. Are you and your fellow union members who work in Tesco Ireland prepared to be treated in such a dismissive fashion? If the answer is no then make sure you endorse the claim now and encourage others to do so.

Be under no illusion every time we receive an additional individual endorsement from you the members your claim is strengthened even further and it becomes more possible to achieve. So the message is clear, if you haven’t done so already endorse the claim today. You cannot leave this to your fellow union members to do because after all everybody will benefit when we successfully deliver on the various aspects of the claim.

Remember you can endorse the claim in the following ways

  • By clicking on the Tesco Workers Together website
  • By completing the section of the text that was sent to your mobile
  • By requesting a hard copy from your Shop Steward, Union Official or Organiser

Even though we have had a brilliant start to your pay and benefits campaign it now time to drive it on to the next level. Despite the huge response so far by you the members we now need to ensure that we obtain the biggest amount of individual endorsements possible. I am confident we will achieve this outcome and when we do it will send a clear message to your employer that you the workers are determined to win the best terms and conditions achievable through direct and meaningful negotiations with your Union. And remember by endorsing the campaign you clearly prove

Together we are Stronger.

Mandate launch Tesco Pay & Benefits Claim for 2019


Mandate’s Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light is today (Wednesday, 3rd April 2019) launching the 2019 Tesco Pay & Benefits Claim. All Tesco workers are encouraged to view the claim and support it by signing the linked petition. You can view the claim here and sign the petition here.

Full text of Mr Light’s video below…


“Hello

It’s that time of year again when your union serves an annual pay and benefits claim on your employer Tesco Ireland. Such a claim is an effort to win recognition for the hard work and dedication shown by you the members to the Tesco business over the past 12 months.

In putting the various parts of the claim together we have been guided by you and your fellow members and the issues that you have identified as priorities through your active collective participation in recent national membership surveys. The claim was also recently endorsed by a national meeting of Shop Stewards.

This year the claim is as follows. On the issue of pay we are seeking the introduction of a pay scale with a starting point of no less than €11.90 per hour (Living Wage) and a top point of no less than €16.00 per hour. The introduction of this type of a structure will go a long way to ensure greater pay equality amongst all workers in Tesco which is something that is crucially important to many of you. We are also calling for the creation of 1,000 full time jobs along with fairer work roster scheduling and significantly full recognition of your right to be individually and collectively represented by Mandate Trade Union.

We believe the claim is both reasonable and achievable from a business that was only recently described by its CEO in a letter to staff as being in a “strong position”.

Do not underestimate the part of your claim that demands your right to be fully represented by your union. Over the past 3 years despite being formally requested to do so Tesco have failed to collectively engage in order to negotiate and agree your pay and other benefits. Instead management decided, without giving workers a say, what pay increase they believed you deserved. This year we must vow to bring this dangerous practice to an end for if we don’t your employer will ultimately end up determining the full range of terms and conditions that you will work for and more importantly how you will be treated whilst at work in the future. You along with your fellow union members have the absolute right to determine your value to the Tesco business and not have management decide it for you.

As late as two weeks ago your union, not for the first time, wrote to your employer seeking meaningful engagement. On Friday last we received a response which clearly fails to accept our invitation.

Be under no illusion come June of this year Tesco management is likely without any reference to you or your Union to announce a pay increase. But the claim I have just outlined is about more than a pay increase it goes to the very heart of being treated with dignity and respect at work and also ensures what you have you hold. Like any other claim it has a much greater chance of being successful if it belongs to and is supported and driven by you the members. Attached to this video you will find a link to an online petition which gives greater detail of this year’s pay and benefits claim along with an opportunity to declare your support for it. I would urge each and every one of you to complete the petition without delay. Your employer needs to know we are serious in our demands and this is the best way of leaving them in no doubt.

We are already seeing signs that our members are tiring of the way they have been treated by Tesco over the past 3 years. Prior to Christmas we witnessed 2 strikes in Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon where your fellow members employed in those stores made a stand for decency and respect not only for themselves but for all of their fellow union members. The same level of fighting spirit is now required to support and deliver the pay and benefits claim which we intend to send to your employer today. As proven in the past none of the current terms and conditions that you currently have were won without a fight through the determination of our members acting collectively and sticking together in their union.

The same is true of the current claim which we all need to define as a turning point in the relationship with your employer when you the proud members of Mandate Trade Union use your collective power to ensure you are treated with the dignity and respect that you are entitled to.

So don’t forget sign the petition now and always remember together we are stronger.

To all Mandate activists in Tesco Ireland – 2019 Pay & Benefits Claim to be launched

To all shop stewards/activists,

Tomorrow morning Mandate Trade Union will launch the Tesco workers’ pay and benefits claim for 2019.

This claim has been informed by a number of surveys of Tesco members and has already been endorsed by the Tesco National Strategy Team comprised of Tesco activists.

To coincide with this launch, Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light will be issuing a video to all Tesco members informing them about the contents of the claim.

A link to the video and the claim will be sent by text message to all Tesco workers along with a petition/declaration in support of the claim.

It is vital that as many Tesco workers as possible are informed about this years claim and that they declare their support for it if it is to be achieved in full.

I would respectfully ask that when you receive the video and the petition, you share it with all of your colleagues in Tesco Ireland through text message, email, social media, WhatsApp or any other means of communication you deem appropriate.

Your local official/organiser will be in touch in the coming weeks about member information meetings on the claim and the ongoing Tesco Workers Together campaign for decent jobs and workers’ rights in Tesco Ireland.

Yours in solidarity,

John Douglas

Mandate General Secretary

 

Tesco Sligo workers announce two more strike dates before Christmas

Workers call on company to abide by agreements to prevent future strikes

Mandate Trade Union has notified Tesco Ireland of two more days of industrial action before Christmas including Friday, 21st December and Saturday, 22nd December 2018.

The Tesco workers are also scheduled to strike tomorrow, Friday, 14th December with Carrick-on-Shannon workers also striking on the 22nd December.

Mandate General Secretary John Douglas said it is regrettable that the Tesco workers have been forced to escalate their dispute, but the company bears sole responsibility for this.

“Our members do not want to be on strike. No worker does,” said Mr Douglas. “But when a major multinational and highly profitable retailer is constantly undermining your working conditions and your right to be represented by your trade union, you are not left with many options. You can either roll over and take it, or you can fight back and I commend the Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon workers for choosing to fight back.”

Mr Douglas said he had written to the company in an attempt to avoid these strikes with very clear and concise demands. He explained:

“We explained to Tesco management how this strike and further strikes can be prevented by asking them to answer three simple questions:

  1. In the case of Tesco Sligo and Tesco Carrick-on-Shannon, is Tesco agreeable to jointly referring issues in dispute to the WRC and onwards to the Labour Court if necessary?
  2. Pending the resolution of these issues, is Tesco prepared to revert to the status quo in regard to all issues in dispute?
  3. As previously requested, is Tesco prepared to ‘fully adhere to all existing collective agreements and follow in good faith all existing procedures and dispute resolution’ both now and in the future?

If Tesco answer in the affirmative to all three questions, this strike does not need to go ahead and the company will be giving real expression to the fact that they recognise their workers’ union, respect workers and their voice at work, and is truly a great place to work.

If they refuse to answer or say no, it should become clear to all that Tesco’s real agenda is about de-recognising their workers’ right to be represented by a trade union and undermining their working conditions,” said Mr Douglas.

Sligo strike

Last Thursday, 6th December 2018, more than 70 Tesco workers in Sligo took industrial action following the company’s failure to abide by collective agreements and adhere to agreed procedures.

Watch a video of workers explaining why they are on strike by clicking here.

The dispute dates back to April 2017 when the workers first raised a collective grievance which was ignored by local management. The workers then followed the company’s procedures and passed the grievance to their local trade union official who wrote ten separate letters to the company attempting to resolve the issue before it escalated. Tesco didn’t respond to any of those letters.

Mandate’s Divisional Organiser, Ciaran Campbell, in line with agreed procedures, then moved the complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Four dates were suggested by the WRC with Mandate representatives making themselves available for all of the dates. Tesco refused to attend.

At this point Mr Campbell informed the WRC that he was left with no alternative but to ballot members due to Tesco’s refusal to engage.

The ballot result was emphatic. 85% of all members in the store voted, and 97% of them voted in favour of industrial action.

Mr Campbell thanked the Sligo public for their support during last weeks strike, and apologised for any inconvenience caused:

“The support we had on the picket lines last week was inspirational. We know that this strike is a serious inconvenience to Tesco customers, but we’d hope that people would put the blame firmly where it belongs. Tesco management have the capacity to ensure there are no more strikes in Sligo, or anywhere else, and all they have to do is abide by their own agreed procedures. Failure to do that will mean they continue to inconvenience their customers, the staff and damage their own business.”

Mandate again calls on the company to do the right thing before the dispute escalates further.

Update from Mandate on Tesco Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon strikes

Mandate members employed in Sligo and Carrick on Shannon have voted in favour of industrial action. Here Mandate Assistant General Secretary has a message for all Tesco members.

“Over the next few weeks in the lead up to Christmas your fellow union members working in Tesco branches located in Sligo and Carrick – on – Shannon will engage in a series of one day strikes with the first strike taking place in Sligo this Thursday 6th December.

Why are these strikes happening? Well I think we all know the answer to that. It’s simply because your employer Tesco Ireland has refused to reasonably deal with a series of local issues which have been outstanding for a long period of time. Of course this type of behaviour by management is not confined to these two stores or indeed local issues. For all of you have over the course of the past three years in one way or another experienced the unfolding consequences of Tesco’s long term strategy to get rid of your union from its Irish business.

In response to the developing situation in Sligo and Carrick –on- Shannon Tesco issued a press release stating and I quote “Tesco has always abided by agreed procedures and we expect Mandate to do the same”. This view was also reflected in a company memo to all stores yesterday. This statement by management is simply not true because recent experience has shown that the opposite is actually the case.

On a constant basis your union has been cautioning you and your fellow members as to what the future will hold if Tesco get their way and don’t have a strong and effective union to deal with in the future. This is not scaremongering and if you don’t believe me look at some of the things that have happened in the recent past which are all clear breaches of agreements previously negotiated with your union.

  • Tesco no longer collectively negotiates your core terms and conditions such as pay, weekly hours and rosters, instead management now decides how much you get and when you get it.
  • Tesco no longer fulfils its without exception obligation to attend at the Workplace Relations Commission or the Labour Court, rather they attend when it suits them
  • Tesco no longer places new workers into union membership and this includes the most recent new store openings.
  • Tesco no longer will allow your full time Union Officials into stores to represent members
  • Tesco no longer allow union correspondence and information to be place on instore notice boards
  • Tesco no longer grants release for your local union Shop Stewards to be trained in their role
  • Tesco no longer participates in local or national information and consultation forums
  • Tesco no longer provides proper canteen facilities
  • Tesco withhold wage increases due to certain members of staff

These are only a few examples of what I’m talking about, I could go on, but hopefully at this stage you see the bigger picture and where we are heading if we do not engage in a determined effort to resist this type of management behaviour which is no less than an outright attack on your established terms and conditions of employment with an ultimate objective to destroy your union and weaken your power at work.

This is why your fellow union members in Sligo and Carrick –on- Shannon are going on strike. Their simple message to the company is they are not prepared to tolerate this ongoing attack on them and their union any further. Let me be quite clear their fight is your fight and if you are to achieve ultimate success you must be all prepared to join that fight when called upon.

I’m sure you are anxious to show support for your fellow members who are about to go on strike for issues that are and should be of concern to you. The best way you can do this is to stay strong in your own store and fight against any changes that are being proposed without formal negotiation with your union. If you resistance is met with a determination by management to push the changes through then you have no other credible alternative but to contemplate a similar approach to your fellow members in Sligo and Carrick. And if you do this you will be fully supported by your union. Most of all you must ensure that none of you agree to work in the two stores whilst they are on strike.

Always remember that together we are stronger and together we will win.

Thank you”

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary

Tesco workers in two stores vote for strike ahead of Christmas

Strikes could spread in coming months as company routinely breaches agreements

Union calls on public to support the Tesco workers

Tesco workers in two stores – Sligo and Carrick-on Shannon – have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action as the company continues to breach agreements and deny workers their right to collective representation.

Mandate Trade Union has served notice that Sligo workers will strike this Thursday, 6th December and again on Friday, 14th December. The Carrick-on-Shannon workers will strike on Saturday, 22nd December.

The Sligo store voted in favour of industrial action by a margin of 97pc, with an 85pc turnout in the ballot. Carrick-on-Shannon also had an 85pc turnout, with 81pc voting in favour of strike.

There is a possibility more dates will be added and other stores may join their colleagues in the coming weeks and months should the company not abide by agreements and allow their workers’ their right to collective representation.

Mandate Trade Union General Secretary John Douglas said:

“It’s extremely disappointing it has come to this. Our members do not want to be on strike, particularly in the run up to Christmas, but unfortunately Tesco management have left them with no alternative.

“For the last three years Mandate has tried to engage with the company on a whole range of issues, but it seems Tesco management are determined to continue with their de-unionisation plan, Project Black.”

He added, “They have refused to engage with their workers on pay and conditions of employment, on the removal of canteens and break room facilities, they have refused to pay some workers a cost of living pay increase for four consecutive years, and crucially, they have breached collective agreements which they freely entered into with their workers.”

Mr Douglas explained how Tesco Ireland have changed the way they behave towards their workers in recent years.

“For decades Mandate members and Tesco Ireland had a mutually beneficial relationship which culminated in workers building the company into the most profitable retailer in Ireland, while those staff members enjoyed decent terms and conditions of employment. Over the last three years, the company decided to change that relationship and have engaged in a campaign to de-recognise their workers’ union. We can only assume the €250 million in profit per year from the Irish arm of the business is not enough, and the company’s shareholders want more,” he said.

While workers in the Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon stores have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action, this could easily spread to the other 150 stores, according to Mandate.

Mr Douglas said: “Tesco workers throughout Ireland are at a cross roads. They are being told by their employer that they will no longer be entitled to trade union represention, and unfortunately now the only way they can avail of that right is to strike.

“It’s appalling that in Ireland in 2018 workers have to strike in the run up to Christmas just so they can avail of their human right to be represented by a trade union of their choice,” concluded Mr Douglas.

Mandate Trade Union is calling on the company to once again engage with their workers through their representatives in order to prevent any damage to the company and to the Tesco brand in Ireland.

One Tesco worker, who wished to remain anonymous apologised to the public, but appealed for their support:

“We don’t want to be on strike. We want to be looking after our loyal customers, particularly in the run up to Christmas. We will be losing our wages and we can’t afford it. But we can’t afford to let Tesco management walk all over us either. That’s why we’re taking a stand and we hope the public will understand and support us.”

« Older Entries