Tesco workers to strike on Thursday following breakdown of talks
Mandate Trade Union has announced that a strike of indefinite duration will take place in more than 70 Tesco Ireland stores from Thursday morning at 7am (26th May 2016) following a breakdown in talks in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) early this morning.
Mandate say the strike is avoidable provided the company either withdraws their threats to force changes to pay and conditions of employment for their workers without agreement or attends the Labour Court for an impartial third party hearing.
Tesco management are attempting to force changes to workers’ conditions of employment including:
- 15-35% pay cuts.
- The slashing of overtime.
- Cuts to Sunday and unsociable hour’s premiums from double pay to time and a half.
- A reduction in the annual bonus.
- Changes to rosters.
Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said: “Tesco management have failed to provide any evidence to justify making changes to workers’ conditions of employment without agreement, and that’s clearly why they haven’t agreed to attend the Labour Court. Mandate and Tesco not only have an agreement to attend the Labour Court in such circumstances, we have a long history of that practice being utilised successfully in the past.”
He added, “To say to a group of workers ‘we’re cutting your pay by up to 25 percent and we don’t have to give you evidence or justify those cuts’ is a shameful way to treat workers who have built the company to what it is over more than twenty years. For us, and our members, the situation is very clear. Tesco are attempting to increase already significant profits at the expense of their longest serving workers.”
Mandate believes the actions of the company could set a very dangerous precedent.
“If the company thinks it can get away with this now, who will they target next? We have agreements with Tesco for conditions of employment for all workers at the company and there is a genuine fear that if Tesco feel they can start ripping up agreements for one group of workers, there will undoubtedly be serious implications for all other workers in the future,” said Mr Light.
Tesco say they intend making unilateral changes to conditions of employment for approximately 300 workers in the company who were employed before 1996.
Tesco is the largest private sector employer in the Republic of Ireland with 14,000 workers in 149 stores and Mandate estimates the company is enjoying profits in excess of €200m annually.