Tesco workers’ case is heard by Labour Court

The Labour Court heard this morning (Monday, January 29th) from both Mandate & Siptu Trade Unions and Tesco Ireland management in relation to two outstanding claims made by the Unions on behalf of their members employed in Tesco Ireland.

The two cases include:

Claim 1

  • A 3% wage increase for 2017
  • An additional 500 full time jobs
  • A wage increase weighted in favour of those on the lower hourly rates of pay
  • A review of current weekly hours

Claim 2

  • A claim for outstanding pay increases for pre-1996 staff that have already been paid to all other staff in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The Court has now entered into deliberations and their recommendation is expected in the coming weeks. All Mandate & Siptu members working in Tesco will be informed of the outcome as soon as it is available.

Two Mandate vs Tesco cases at Labour Court rearranged for January 29th

Two pending Labour Court cases by Mandate Trade Union vs Tesco Ireland have been rearranged and will now take place on Monday, 29th January 2018.

The two cases include:

  1. A claim by Mandate on Tesco Ireland to create more full-time permanent jobs following Tesco’s removal of more than 1,500 full-time position in recent years. Highly profitable retailers like Tesco have no excuse for not creating more decent full-time positions, with good rates of pay and good rosters. Another element of this claim is for a review of the current Banded Hours Agreement.
  2. A claim for a six percent pay increase for pre-1996 staff that all other staff have received.

The two cases will be heard separately and Mandate Trade Union will inform all Tesco members of the outcome as soon as possible.

Tesco Update – Thursday, 9th November 2017

The following is an industrial relations update from Mandate:


Tesco Workers Together Member Update

Date: 1 November 2017

1. National Emergency / Storm Ophelia

Mandate Trade Union contacted all major retailers with regard to their intentions to protect their staff health and safety for the duration of the national emergency. In particular we were advising employers that stores should close and staff should be sent home and paid in full. We are happy to report that after numerous interventions from Mandate Trade Union on the morning of the storm, Tesco agreed to eventually close stores and send staff home without loss of pay.

2. Mandate Trade Union will continue to fight for Decency and Respect for Tesco workers:

We are pursuing Tesco to create significantly more full-time permanent jobs. In the last 18 months Tesco has taken out over 1,500 fulltime permanent jobs replacing them with part-time jobs, many of which fail to provide enough earnings for workers to survive. Profitable retailers have no excuse for not creating more decent fulltime positions, with good rates of pay and good rosters .The Labour Court will hear a case on the 4th Jan 18 lodged by Mandate for a review of the current Banded Hours Agreement. On the same date the Labour Court will also hear a case against Tesco for the non-payment of pay increases to pre 96 members.

There are two pay scales in Tesco at the moment, we are pursuing an equality agenda demanding that all employees are equalised upwards to the higher pay scale and that progression on the scale should be 12 months for all employees.

3. Project Black Continues

Tesco continue to interfere with workers’ rights and workers’ voice at work. We believe the company is trying to dismantle your union, silence your voice at work and weaken workers’ ability to secure decent terms and conditions into the future. The following are just some of Tesco’s actions:

Tesco removed 2,000 workers who either went on strike or threatened to go on strike from the contractual company/union agreement for the payment of union subs via payroll (majority of these members have now signed up to the union on-line payment).

For the remaining members paying their subs via payroll the company continues to forward your union subs (albeit belatedly) to Union Head Office, but Tesco are refusing to include a listing of those members for whom the money is to be credited against. This is an attempt to interfere with your union payment history and cause some confusion among members.

Tesco refuse to engage with your union on collective issues such as pay and benefits. As we know the Company is attempting to position itself as the sole determinant of all your future pay increases and terms and conditions of employment. Collective bargaining is important to every Tesco worker, it’s your voice at work, it’s your collective independent power, it delivers pay and conditions on which you have a say. Anything short of full engagement with your union puts all your existing and future pay and conditions at the mercy of management

Tesco is attempting to limit the access of your Union Officials to stores – this is an attack on your rights to be fully represented by well-trained union officials who can fight your corner and protect you against mistreatment.

Mandate believes that Tesco will not be satisfied until it totally dismantles all union structures and all workers’ influence at work at which stage they can effectively do what they want with employees. This is the aim of “Project Black”, but it will not succeed. Irish workers will not tolerate Tesco attacking their union and their Voice at Work. The terms and conditions enjoyed by Tesco workers today were not given freely by the company, they were won down through the years by employees in a strong union and via collective bargaining.

4. Christmas Trading Arrangements and Conditions of Employment

Mandate Trade Union will be shortly circulating Christmas arrangements and conditions which should be applied by Tesco to all members working over the holiday period. For full details of the Christmas Trading/Working Agreement please click here:

Please update your contact details so as to receive the most up-to-date union membership information at http://www.mandate.ie/Contact/Update.aspx

Please ensure that you and your fellow workers are also union members. You can join on-line at https://joinmandate.ie

Remember, Unity is strength, we are stronger together.

Kick back against Project Black.

Tesco IR Member Update October 2017

Please also find below updates on Christmas working arrangements for both night and day staff in Tesco Ireland:

Georgian company forces workers to quit their union – and fired 350 people

Georgia: Stop union busting at Rustavi Avot

A fertilizer producer in Georgia has been trying to force its workers to quit their union, and has illegally fired 350 people.

The new management at “Rustavi Azot” refuses to talk with the union, and the Ministry of Labour has been unable to convince the employer to come to the bargaining table. Meanwhile the management is forcing workers to accept short-term contracts, and has barred the union leaders from visiting the company. Every day, workers are being forced to quit their union in order to keep their jobs.

IndustriALL global union and its affiliate in Georgia, the Trade Union of Metallurgy, Mining and Chemical Industry Workers of Georgia (TUMMCIWG), have launched a global online campaign on LabourStart to demand that the employer immediately stop the persecution and undermining of the union, to grant access of the union chairman to the enterprise together with union members, and to start negotiations with the union to bring an end to this dispute.

Please take a moment to show your support for these workers:


Allegations Tesco management are forcing staff to work behind closed doors during Hurricane

Mandate Trade Union has written to Tesco Ireland for the third time today seeking confirmation that workers are free to go home.

The letter follows a statement from Tesco, which said:

“All stores in Tesco Ireland have now closed due to Hurricane Ophelia. We thank all our colleagues today who did their best to serve customers in the few hours this morning before the storm hit. We will reopen once it is safe to do so. We hope everyone stays safe today.”

However, Mandate is receiving reports that workers have been told they will not be paid if they go home and are now working behind closed doors. Other workers are being told that their stores are only closed until 5pm.

In a letter to Tesco, Gerry Light, Mandate Trade Union Assistant General Secretary said:

“We have just received reports from indirect sources that Tesco Ireland has taken a decision to close all stores due to the dangerous weather conditions. Whilst this development coming late as it does is to be welcomed it is regrettable to say the least that management did not see fit to directly inform Mandate Trade Union.

“Following this recent development we are now receiving reports that some of our members are being detained to work behind closed doors and in the event that they go home they are being told they will not be paid. Once again I am calling on the Company to confirm that neither of these practices are being applied or indeed that none of our members will suffer any disadvantage or negative outcomes as a result of the blanket closure of stores.”

Mandate is calling on Tesco to:

  • Ensure all workers can go home until Hurricane Ophelia has passed.
  • Ensure no worker is out of pocket for returning to the safety of their homes.
  • Provide all workers with safe travel arrangements (public transport is no longer operating).

Some of the retail outlets that have closed their businesses until Ophelia passes:

  • Debenhams
  • Dunnes Stores
  • Penneys
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Supervalu MOPI
  • Heatons
  • Arnotts
  • Brown Thomas
  • Supervalu Pettitts
  • Argos
  • Shaws
  • Garveys (Kerry)
  • Easons
  • PTSB
  • Caulfields Supervalu
  • Boots Ireland

Industrial Relations Update

Pay & Benefits Claim 2017

Please note that Mandate Trade Union lodged a pay claim on Tesco Ireland Ltd for a substantial cost of living increase as and from April 2017.  Tesco failed to directly respond to your Union on your pay claim, instead preferring to react by implementing without your agreement a 2% pay increase.  Mandate has referred your pay claim to the Workplace Relations Commission but to date Tesco has failed to respond and we now intend to refer the claim to the Labour Court as per the Union/Company agreement.

There are a number of other benefit improvements which we are seeking as part of this claim in addition to a cost of living increase, these include;

More permanent full-time jobs and improvement to the Union/Company Banded Hours Agreement so as to further improve certainty of members’ earnings.

An agreed mechanism to achieve pay equality for all Tesco workers by the creation of a Single Higher Pay Scale for all employees.

Justice for the 200

For the last three pay agreements Tesco has refused to apply the annual cost of living increases (2% per year x 3) to over 200 of your longer serving fellow members and colleagues.  This is discriminatory and unfair, all workers are entitled to an annual cost of living pay increase (we understand that even managers were awarded this increase).  Mandate will not allow Tesco to pick and choose who they believe are entitled to cost of living increases – the obvious danger is that it could be you next time.  Therefore this issue has been referred to the Labour Court.

Fallout from the February 2017 Strike

There are a number of your fellow members who are being unfairly targeted with disciplinary hearings and sanctions because of their support for their fellow Tesco colleagues and Union members.  Mandate continues to vigorously defend these workers against injustice.

Tesco Ireland Ltd post-strike reaction

Tesco have stopped all Union payroll deductions from your fellow Union members who either went on strike, supported the strike or intended joining the strike.  This is a direct attack by Tesco on workers and their right to be in and be active in a Trade Union, they have also refused to put new employees up on union payroll deductions, all this is an attempt to weaken your voice at work so as to put management in position as the sole decider of all things regarding your future wages and conditions.

Pre ’96 Dispute

The Labour Court recently invited the parties to give an update on developments to the Court.   While Mandate attended the Labour Court, Tesco chose to give a written update.  Based on these updates the Labour Court wrote to both parties offering new alternative ways by which the Court might assist the parties’ resolve all outstanding issues, unfortunately Tesco responded negatively to the Court’s suggestions.

Banded Hours Bill and Dail Eireann

We continue to lobby all political parties in the Dail to secure support for a Banded Hours Legislation which would give all workers in retail and beyond a right to contracts of employment which reflect the hours they actually work, thereby removing the ability of management to manipulate working hours to disadvantage workers earnings and schedules.  We believe we are close to securing the necessary support from TDs and in the near future we will be calling on you to lobby local politicians for support.

Training and Education Programme 2017

In September 2017 Mandate will roll out our new Shop Stewards / Activists Training Programmes.  They are planned for every city/town across Ireland and will be of great assistance in improving activists’ organising skills.  The courses will be in short modules of 3 hours delivered over a number of weeks.

Together we are stronger

Fighting for Decent Jobs and Respect for all Retail Workers

Tesco/Mandate mediator ends involvement in dispute resolution process

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:

  1. Suitable percentage pay increase across all hourly rates for a period of 12 months
  2. Appropriate upward adjustment to ensure greater equality across hourly pay rates
  3. Enhanced/Secure weekly hours including the creation of more full time jobs
  4. 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.

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