Tesco workers call on company to stop using “alternative facts” to undermine legitimate strike

Tesco workers across the Republic of Ireland are calling on the company to stop using “alternative facts” in order to undermine the legitimate industrial action due to begin on Tuesday, 14th February 2017.

Tesco has been making statements about the strike saying workers in five Tesco store have “defied” Mandate’s call for a strike. A worker in the Dundalk store, one of the stores referred to by Tesco in this statement, said this is simply not true.

Tesco are quoted in a local media outlet as saying, “In one of our stores in Dundalk, store colleagues decided not to have a ballot at all and we welcome our colleagues’ decision to take that step.”

Damien Johnston, a Mandate member from the Dundalk store said: “The truth of the matter is, the only pre-1996 worker in our store opted, voluntarily, to accept the company’s offer of a new contract, and therefore there was no reason for us to hold a supportive ballot for industrial action at this moment in time.”

He said, “We have been saying since the very start of this dispute that the company should make no changes to contracts of employment without agreement, and the fact our colleague has agreed to the changes is the only reason we have not balloted, yet.”

“However”, added Mr Johnston, “we are reserving our right to ballot for industrial action in support of our other colleagues across the country in the near future if Tesco management refuse to commit to no changes without agreement.”

Mandate Trade Union said Tesco’s misrepresentation shows the company is worried and urged management to spend more time trying to resolve this dispute rather than spinning lies and fabrications of the truth.

John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary said, “In some stores our members are being told that if they go on strike, they won’t be able to access Family Income Supplement (FIS) or their regular social welfare payments. This type of scaremongering is an interference in their workers’ democratic right to participate in industrial action and needs to be stopped immediately.”

Mr Douglas said the strike can be averted if the company simply ‘commit to no changes without agreement’.

“This behaviour by senior management in Tesco is beyond irresponsible,” said Mr Douglas.

“The intimidation, the threats to their longest serving workers living standards, the risking of an industrial action that could irreparably damage the business make no economic sense.

“All our members are trying to do is protect their livelihoods,” he added.

“While Tesco continues to be the most profitable retailer in the Republic of Ireland paying €250 million every year back to their parent company in the UK and issuing dividends to shareholders, our members, who are already struggling to pay their mortgages, their rent and their other essential bills, are being threatened with cuts of up to 20% in their take-home pay,” concluded Mr Douglas.

Mandate Trade Union members in Tesco will place pickets on nine stores across the Republic of Ireland on St Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, 14th February 2017 and a further nine will join the strike on Friday, 17th February 2017.

Once again Mandate is calling on management in Tesco to do the responsible thing and commit to no changes to contracts of employment for any Tesco worker without that workers’ consent.

A full list of strikes is available here.

The Facebook event page for not passing the pickets is here. Please ‘join’ and invite your friends.

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