Tesco workers to ballot for industrial action
More than 12,000 Mandate Trade Union members in Tesco Ireland are to be balloted for industrial action over the coming weeks after the company refused to accept a Labour Court recommendation and are now attempting to force significant wage cuts on a large number of staff members.
The Labour Court issued its recommendation on February 19th which said all workers in Tesco are entitled to a 2pc pay increase and a share bonus payment.
Tesco has now told more than 1,000 of their workers they will not be receiving the 2pc pay increase and will instead be forced to take pay cuts of at least 15pc from the 18th April 2016. Further changes to workers’ conditions of employment include cuts to hours of work, changes to work patterns and loss of bonuses.
Tesco Ireland employs up to 14,500 workers in 149 stores in the Republic of Ireland and while the company does not publish its Irish profits, Mandate estimates the company is making up to €250m in profits annually.
Mandate General Secretary John Douglas said Tesco’s behavior towards their workers over the last year has been atrocious.
He said, “This has to be seen for what it is, an attack on low-paid workers by a very profitable multinational retailer who are trying to increase their profits at the expense of their long serving staff in Ireland.”
Mr Douglas expressed concerns at the motivations for these cuts saying he believes “Irish workers are being expected to pay for bad investments and accounting scandals associated with the parent company in Britain last year.”
Mr Douglas added, “Tesco has refused to confirm acceptance of the full Labour Court recommendation and are withholding a 2pc pay increase for about 1,000 staff while they try to force massive reductions in pay and conditions of employment. This is a terrible abuse of power”.
He explained that Tesco workers fully understand that if the company is successful in targeting one group of workers for such drastic cuts, it could be their conditions of employment next.
“Tesco are trying to drive a wedge between their own workers by paying one group a pay increase while denying it to others. It’s a classic case of divide and conquer. We believe our members will see through this and stand together to ensure no worker in Tesco faces cuts and instead the company implements the full terms of the Labour Court recommendation,” said Mr Douglas.
Tesco have refused to attend the Labour Court for a hearing on their plans to introduce pay cuts for their workers.
Mandate concluded by saying this dispute in entirely avoidable provided the company accept the full terms of the Labour Court recommendation and withdraw their threat to cut employment conditions for their workers on 18th April.
Mandate will commence balloting for industrial action on Tuesday, 5th April 2016.