Mandate Trade Union has today said that if Tesco Ireland commits to not making changes to its workers’ contracts without agreement, then Tuesday’s impending indefinite strike at nine stores around the country could be called off. Another nine stores are due to join the dispute on Friday while other stores around the country are being balloted over the coming days to join the strike.
John Douglas, Mandate’s General Secretary, says that there is an important principal at stake which is about one side being in a position to tear up an existing agreement and impose change against the will of the other side.
“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 impending 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 due to start on Tuesday could be called off. Unfortunately, to date we have had no response from Tesco Ireland to our letter.”
Mr Douglas said that Tesco’s actions constitute an abuse of the company’s considerable economic power against a small number of local workers who have given more than 20 years of loyal service to the company and its customers.
“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.
Mandate Trade Union represents more than 10,000 workers at Tesco Ireland
From Tuesday, 14 February – St Valentine’s Day – the staff in the following nine Tesco stores will be going on indefinite strike: