Tesco Sligo workers announce two more strike dates before Christmas

Workers call on company to abide by agreements to prevent future strikes

Mandate Trade Union has notified Tesco Ireland of two more days of industrial action before Christmas including Friday, 21st December and Saturday, 22nd December 2018.

The Tesco workers are also scheduled to strike tomorrow, Friday, 14th December with Carrick-on-Shannon workers also striking on the 22nd December.

Mandate General Secretary John Douglas said it is regrettable that the Tesco workers have been forced to escalate their dispute, but the company bears sole responsibility for this.

“Our members do not want to be on strike. No worker does,” said Mr Douglas. “But when a major multinational and highly profitable retailer is constantly undermining your working conditions and your right to be represented by your trade union, you are not left with many options. You can either roll over and take it, or you can fight back and I commend the Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon workers for choosing to fight back.”

Mr Douglas said he had written to the company in an attempt to avoid these strikes with very clear and concise demands. He explained:

“We explained to Tesco management how this strike and further strikes can be prevented by asking them to answer three simple questions:

  1. In the case of Tesco Sligo and Tesco Carrick-on-Shannon, is Tesco agreeable to jointly referring issues in dispute to the WRC and onwards to the Labour Court if necessary?
  2. Pending the resolution of these issues, is Tesco prepared to revert to the status quo in regard to all issues in dispute?
  3. As previously requested, is Tesco prepared to ‘fully adhere to all existing collective agreements and follow in good faith all existing procedures and dispute resolution’ both now and in the future?

If Tesco answer in the affirmative to all three questions, this strike does not need to go ahead and the company will be giving real expression to the fact that they recognise their workers’ union, respect workers and their voice at work, and is truly a great place to work.

If they refuse to answer or say no, it should become clear to all that Tesco’s real agenda is about de-recognising their workers’ right to be represented by a trade union and undermining their working conditions,” said Mr Douglas.

Sligo strike

Last Thursday, 6th December 2018, more than 70 Tesco workers in Sligo took industrial action following the company’s failure to abide by collective agreements and adhere to agreed procedures.

Watch a video of workers explaining why they are on strike by clicking here.

The dispute dates back to April 2017 when the workers first raised a collective grievance which was ignored by local management. The workers then followed the company’s procedures and passed the grievance to their local trade union official who wrote ten separate letters to the company attempting to resolve the issue before it escalated. Tesco didn’t respond to any of those letters.

Mandate’s Divisional Organiser, Ciaran Campbell, in line with agreed procedures, then moved the complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Four dates were suggested by the WRC with Mandate representatives making themselves available for all of the dates. Tesco refused to attend.

At this point Mr Campbell informed the WRC that he was left with no alternative but to ballot members due to Tesco’s refusal to engage.

The ballot result was emphatic. 85% of all members in the store voted, and 97% of them voted in favour of industrial action.

Mr Campbell thanked the Sligo public for their support during last weeks strike, and apologised for any inconvenience caused:

“The support we had on the picket lines last week was inspirational. We know that this strike is a serious inconvenience to Tesco customers, but we’d hope that people would put the blame firmly where it belongs. Tesco management have the capacity to ensure there are no more strikes in Sligo, or anywhere else, and all they have to do is abide by their own agreed procedures. Failure to do that will mean they continue to inconvenience their customers, the staff and damage their own business.”

Mandate again calls on the company to do the right thing before the dispute escalates further.

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