Mandate makes fresh offer to resolve Tesco dispute

Union thanks public for huge show of support for striking workers as stoppage enters its second day

The General Secretary of Mandate Trade Union, John Douglas, has this morning written to the CEO of Tesco Ireland, Andrew Yaxley, making a fresh offer of ‘without prejudice’ talks to resolve the issues in the current dispute at the company. Eight stores are currently on indefinite strike in Dublin, Kerry, Longford, Meath, Offaly and Wicklow. A further eight stores in Dublin, Monaghan and Wicklow will join the strike this coming Friday unless the dispute is resolved with a further 23 balloting for industrial action next week

“This morning we have written again to Tesco Ireland offering to enter into ‘without prejudice’ talks to resolve the issues in this dispute. We did so last Friday and got no response, however, we hope that the company will reconsider our offer in the best interests of Tesco Ireland, its customers and staff,” John Douglas said.

In the letter to Andrew Yaxley, John Douglas wrote the following:

“On numerous occasions over the last week, this union has sought assurances that Tesco will not attempt to enforce changes to contracts without agreement, furthermore, we requested that the company on a ‘without prejudice’ basis to its position on the Labour Court Recommendation, engage with Mandate in good faith discussions in an attempt to find a solution acceptable to both parties for the immediate resolution of this dispute.

“Unfortunately, Tesco has not accepted this offer, instead demanding that ‘Mandate accept the Labour Court Recommendation’. For the avoidance of any doubt please be aware that Mandate as an institution does not accept or reject Labour Court Recommendations rather this is the prerogative of the members concerned in a secret ballot and they have overwhelmingly rejected the Labour Court Recommendation. Therefore, it is clear that a resolution of this dispute cannot be found totally within the confines of the Recommendation as it currently stands.

“So once again, I would ask that Tesco and Mandate on a ‘without prejudice’ basis to either parties’ position engage in good faith discussions to find a solution acceptable to all those involved”.

Returning to the conduct of the strike itself, John Douglas said that the striking workers have been very heartened by the support they have received. 

“it’s clear from the tremendous support the striking workers received all day yesterday and today, that the public clearly recognises the importance of the issues involved here – namely that Tesco Ireland, which has enormous economic power, is attempting to unilaterally impose changes to the contracts of employment for approximately 250 workers.

“If Tesco Ireland is successful with this move it 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.

“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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