Tesco attempts cuts to pay and conditions for long serving staff

Mandate Trade Union said yesterday’s (Tuesday, 26th January) announcement by Tesco management that long serving members of staff would be facing pay cuts, more flexibility and reduced terms of conditions of employment would be resisted by all staff at the company.

Tesco called their longest serving members of staff into meetings early yesterday morning to announce the company’s intention to implement changes to employment conditions for all workers employed prior to 1996. This affects almost 1,000 members of staff and would mean a cut of €2.35 (16.5%) per hour for workers earning €14.31.

The financial implications of the proposed changes include:

  • A minimum reduction in annual income of €6,591.
  • The loss of late night allowance.
  • The loss of early morning allowance.
  • The loss of the guaranteed share bonus scheme.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said: “Tesco’s antics yesterday led to shock for all of the staff concerned but that shock has quickly turned to anger and now determination as the workers say they will resist any changes that are pushed through without negotiations and ultimately agreed with the workers concerned.”

He added, “The mischievous attempt to attribute these cuts to ‘customer services’ has gained no traction with anyone. This is quite simply a case of Tesco attempting to increase their profits for the parent company at the expense of their most loyal and long-standing members of staff.”

Mr Light said he was extremely disappointed that the company went on a “solo-run” by making this announcement to the union’s members without negotiations.

“We have agreements with Tesco to address such issues as they arise. It’s not good industrial relations practice to do business in this way and our members are quite rightly angered by the company’s behaviour.

“This is not a struggling company. It is a highly profitable retailer that has one quarter of the entire grocery market in the Republic of Ireland. The company refuses to release their profits but we estimate them to be in the region of €250-300 million per year.”

Addressing the company’s statement that Tesco made losses last year, Mr Light said it is disingenuous in the extreme to be using bad investments and inappropriate accountancy practices in London to justify cutting workers’ wages in Ireland.

“Tesco are saying they made a loss last year when in reality the company made bad investment in the United States, bad investments in the Middle East and they were caught overvaluing properties and mismanaging their accounts, so much so that shareholders are now suing the company for millions.

“That is not the fault of their Irish workers, who have made Tesco into the most successful retail business in Ireland today. If the parent company needs to make savings, they should start at the top of the food chain instead of targeting their loyal workers who are already classified as low paid in relative terms,” concluded Mr Light.
Follow the Tesco Workers Together Facebook page by clicking here.

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