Mandate Trade Union General Secretary John Douglas has written to Tesco Ireland confirming that the mediation process between the two parties has now reached an inevitable end.
The letter from Mr Douglas follows a communication from Raymond McGee, the agreed mediator appointed by the Labour Court, who indicated that there was a ‘deadlock’ and he would now ‘step away from the process.’ Mr Douglas explained how Mandate was the only party to table a resolution proposal during the mediation process.
Furthermore, Tesco management have withdrawn the offer of redundancy for ‘Pre 96’ workers, which the company had always said was part of the dispute resolution process. On that basis not only the mediation process but also the dispute would now appear to be over.
Mr Douglas criticised the company for their lack of engagement and “totally disregarding the return to work protocol agreed with the Labour Court”. The protocol stated that there would be no retribution from either side for their participation in the industrial action.
He said, “Since then and up to the present day Tesco management have engaged in a deliberate campaign of retribution and penalisation against Mandate members and activists who legally and peacefully participated in industrial action, as is their human right.”
Mr Douglas confirmed that Mandate is preparing to ballot ‘Pre 96’ workers for protective industrial action to ensure the company does not attempt to cut their pay or conditions of employment without agreement in the future.
Separately, Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light has sought a meeting with the company to discuss the following:
- Suitable percentage pay increase across all hourly rates for a period of 12 months
- Appropriate upward adjustment to ensure greater equality across hourly pay rates
- Enhanced/Secure weekly hours including the creation of more full time jobs
- Enhanced work life balance arrangements to include a review of current rostering, shift arrangements
He said, “Our members have told us that pay equality is an important issue for them and they won’t easily forget that it was cited as a key justification by Tesco management for their stance during the recent pre-96 contract dispute.”
He added, “Therefore we’re happy to develop this concept further with the company as long as it is equality upwards, and not a race to the bottom in Tesco Ireland. The principle of equal pay for equal work cannot be used selectively and then discarded by the company when it suits them.”
Mr Light has also sought a meeting to discuss the failure of the company to pay the full 4% pay increase owed to ‘Pre 96’ workers.
“We cannot allow Tesco management to pick and choose which workers should be afforded a pay increase. The fact that the longest serving members of staff in Tesco are now owed 4 percent should be a worry, not only for the 3,500 thousand Tesco workers currently earning more than them, but also for all other workers in Tesco because if the company get away with this, who knows which group of workers and what established term and condition will be next,” said Mr Light.