TESCO MEMBER UPDATE: TUESDAY 5TH APRIL 2016
It has come to your union’s attention that Tesco management are engaging in intensive store meetings with staff in a deliberate attempt to confuse and misinform workers in order to influence the outcome of the national ballot which is about to start. Therefore, it is important to deal with some of the smokescreen issues which are being raised by the store managers at the meetings with staff. The company’s position (Tesco) is outlined in bold with your Union’s response (Mandate) is directly below it.
(Tesco) “You should not vote in favour of industrial action as the dispute has nothing to do with post 1996 staff who have now received all that is due from the Labour Court recommendation.”
(Mandate) Tesco management are attempting to establish the practice of forcing drastic changes to workers’ terms and conditions of employment without their agreement. If you allow this then no employee’s contract of employment is safe going forward. It may be some of your colleagues today but it could well be you tomorrow. This is why all members should stick together and not allow themselves be divided.
(Tesco) “Voting to support your fellow union members is foolish as most of them are only trying to enhance their redundancy packages and consequently will leave the company soon.”
(Mandate) Tesco are attempting to deflect staff away from the real issue. The issue is not about the terms of a redundancy package, don’t be fooled. Tesco’s plan is to forcibly change the contracts of employment of some staff. If certain staff want to leave the company on the terms of a package not negotiated with their union that is a matter for them, we want to protect terms and conditions and give staff a range of options in circumstances where the company wants to introduce change.
(Tesco) “The union did nothing to achieve the 2% pay increase and 1.5% share bonus for post 2006 staff.”
(Mandate) In suggesting this management runs the real risk of insulting the intelligence of their staff. In 2015 the company claimed it could not afford a pay increase or to pay the share bonus scheme. Be under no illusion that Tesco would have stuck with their original position of non-payment only for the indisputable fact that all union members were united in bringing a claim to the Labour Court which was emphatically won. It is vital the terms of the Recommendation are paid to all staff, we cannot allow the company take a selective approach to applying the terms of the Labour Court recommendation, as this would set a very dangerous precedent for the future.
(Tesco) “If you vote yes for industrial action stores will close and jobs will be lost.”
(Mandate) This is a standard threat used by employers when they are faced with the possibility of industrial action and another smokescreen by Tesco. Like any other business Tesco Ireland does not close profitable stores and a decision to close a store is usually based on a longer term assessment with many other factors being taken into consideration.
(Tesco) “If the pre 96 issue is sorted the company will not come after other terms and conditions of employment.”
(Mandate) This commitment can only be judged based on the degree of trust a worker has in their employer, particularly given the behaviour of Tesco management in recent months. At this stage everybody accepts that the agenda of Tesco Ireland is to cut costs in order to protect the substantial profits they make in this country. What is so unfair and unacceptable is that they are attempting to achieve these savings by savagely attacking the earnings of their workers and there is nothing in their recent behaviour to suggest that if they can do this without the agreement of the workers concerned they will attempt it again in the future.
(Tesco) “You cannot trust the Union.”
(Mandate) You and your fellow colleagues ARE the union and collectively Mandate Trade Union has a sole purpose which is to serve the interests of its members both now and in the future. How well your union has carried out this objective over recent months is there to be seen by anybody who seeks to make such an assessment through an objective and fair evaluation. On the other hand, Tesco’s main purpose is to return increased profits which have in recent times been dented by bad senior management decisions here in Ireland and all over the world. Based on these competing objectives and the recent unacceptable behaviour of management a worker in Tesco Ireland will not be easily fooled by misinformation from the company who will do anything they can to confuse, scare and intimidate you into voting against your best interests and the interests of your fellow members. As part of a strong collective you can fight against the greed and unfairness that has been witnessed in recent months from Tesco. Together we can win.
Given what has been won by a unified union membership in recent weeks, now is not the time to allow your employer to divide you and your fellow members, do not be fooled by the company’s attempts to deflect you from the real issue, which is forcing through changes to staffs terms and conditions. When the current dispute is over, your union intends to aggressively pursue a pay claim which prioritises the needs of all members. In fact, the claim has already been served on your employer. The best way of achieving this type of progress is for all union members to participate in the upcoming national ballot and voting in such a way that leaves Tesco Ireland in no doubt that you and your fellow union members will stand together determined to protect and grow your terms and conditions of employment both now and into the future.