Why Mummy has sore eyes – the impact of Tesco’s disregard for their own workers

Tesco Tralee Manor worker Yvonne Donnelly details the shock, bewilderment and hurt she felt when her employer moved to scrap her existing pre-1996 contract and move her – and more than 1,000 of her colleagues – on to a new one. She describes this like being punched ‘in the gut’. Tesco say the changes will take place on May 16th. 

I started working in Quinnsworth on 27th August 1994. I still remember my first day – I was so excited and happy to have a job. I had just done my Leaving Cert and I was hoping to go into nursing.

Well, as you can tell, I never did go into nursing – I loved my job so much that I stayed and here I am 21-and-a-half years later.

Some days I look back and think about what if I had gone into nursing but then I say to myself, ‘Sure, aren’t I doing a job I love and I’m happy doing it.’

That all changed at 11am on Tuesday, January 26th 2016, when our store manager read out the decision made by Tesco to abolish our existing contracts that had been given to us in 1996 to change us (pre-‘96) to “modern contracts”.

To say I was in complete shock is an understatement. I have always been proud to work for Tesco and I am a very hard-working, loyal colleague with 21-and-a-half years service behind me.

I have worked in various departments over the years and still do on a daily basis. I work in fresh foods, front-end, payroll, I do administration, a bit of training now and again, clips trips – you might even find me behind the deli making pizzas.

I have worked in Tesco stores in Cork, Limerick and other Kerry stores and I hired and trained many existing staff in those stores. I even worked in management for four year, which I loved.

If that is not a flexible colleague then I don’t know what is. I can’t remember a day when I didn’t want to get out of bed to go to work. I love going to work and I love my job, but to be honest I had a pain in my stomach this morning and a feeling of sadness when I was getting up for work.

After the news we got on the 26th, I have never felt more unappreciated, undervalued and disrespected. It was a bitter pill to swallow. I have always shown Tesco loyalty, professionalism and respect and I expected the same in return.

To be honest, it was like someone saying to me, ‘Thanks for 21-and-a-half years of your life, but take that’ (a punch in the gut).

I am only one of more than 1,000 colleagues affected by this news. I can’t imagine the hurt and the anger all over Ireland on Tuesday 26th January.

My family had also been hurt. My husband is more than upset for me, and my children know that there is something wrong with me. I told them, ‘Mummy just has sore eyes’ – and this is only one family.

I have built my life and family life around my job in Tesco. That home/work life balance will now be swept out from under us if my shift pattern changes.

Since 2008 we have all as Irish citizens had to cut the cloth to measure because of our economic climate. I have by no means led a lavish lifestyle before and certainly not after 2008 – and still don’t with three kids and a big mortgage. My husband works part-time so that we didn’t have to pay a child-minder (that we couldn’t afford anyway).

That all gets even worse now with the proposed rate of pay cut and changes to the share bonus scheme. Most people used this bonus to pay their house insurance /car insurance/ health insurance.

The proposed pay cut will have a detrimental affect on my colleagues’ basic standard of living. If my changed pattern of hours clash with my husband’s, then we will have to pay for a child-minder which is another huge financial burden on my family – not to mention the upset it would cause my children to have a stranger minding them and putting to bed (something they never had to experience).

I love my job and I really hope and pray that I will be able to continue working for Tesco for many happy years to come.


  • Hi i know where you are i have been like yourself with the company for 25 years this june joined the company security dept in june 1991 but i have been out sick since sept 2014 with health issues which i am been treated for had one op done and waiting for another but the list is long i have asked my GP if i could get back to work but they will not sing me fit for work and tesco tell me i am not entilted to redundancy while on long term illness so i know where you are agree with everything you hav said.the last meeting i had with my pm she informed me that the manager of the store which is Cavan Town could sack me at any stage now and that it looked like this is what is going to happen i have contacted HQ PM but got no reply from her to date wishing you all the best and i wish i could get back to work as it is was a large part of my life for the last 23 years all the best .regards Michael Donohoe.


  • They don’t give a —- about YOU but they may just, only just, open their eyes over a British Isles-wide strike’


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