Striking Tesco workers thank public for their support

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Tesco Ireland have not yet responded to Mandate offer to resolve issues in dispute and avoid strike made last Friday 

Staff at eight Tesco stores around the country have thanked the public for the great support they have received since going on the picketline early this morning. The eight stores where the staff are on indefinite strike are located in Dublin, Kerry, Longford, Meath, Offaly and Wicklow. A further eight stores in Dublin, Monaghan and Wicklow will join the strike this coming Friday with a further 22 balloting for industrial action next week.

John Douglas, General Secretary, Mandate Trade Union, said that the striking workers have been very heartened by the support they have received for the important principal at the heart of this dispute – namely one side being in a position to tear up an existing agreement and impose change against the will of the other side.

“This morning staff at eight Tesco stores went on strike and a further eight will be joining them this coming Friday. The public recognise that Tesco Ireland are attempting to impose changes to the contracts of employment for approximately 250 workers employed before 1996 which would result in some workers experiencing reduced incomes of up to 20%. The company – which is the most profitable retailer in the country with estimated profits of more than €250 million annually – has never justified the cuts they are seeking to impose on workers who earn slightly more than €14 per hour.

“In recent days, Tesco Ireland have said that the strikes are not justified because they have not yet actually made the contractual changes. In response, last Friday Mandate wrote to the management of Tesco Ireland saying that if they committed to not making changes to their staff’s contracts without agreement with them – rather than trying to impose change unilaterally – then the strike could be called off. Unfortunately, to date we have had no response from Tesco Ireland to our letter.”

Mr Douglas said that the fact that the company have not responded to the union’s offer leads him to the view that, unfortunately, Tesco Ireland management wants the strike to go ahead.

“No worker wants to go on strike, but our members recognise that if Tesco can get away with tearing up contracts of employment without agreement for pre-1996 staff, it’ll be the 3,000 workers on post-1996 contracts who are currently on a higher hourly rate of pay who will be next. That’s why we’ve seen such strong support from our members in these ballots for industrial action, particularly from those not affected by cuts, yet. They understand that together we are stronger,” John Douglas concluded.

 

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