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Proposed Tesco Ireland Strike 'Unjustified': Retail Ireland

Published on Feb 10 2017 9:58 AM in Retail tagged: Featured Post / Strike / Tesco Ireland / Mandate Trade Union

Proposed Tesco Ireland Strike 'Unjustified': Retail Ireland

Retail Ireland has issued a statement saying that the proposed strike by Tesco Ireland employees who are members of the Mandate Trade Union is 'unjustified' and 'unreasonable'.

The representative Ibec group said that the strike is in opposition to Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court recommendations.

Maeve McElwee, Ibec head of employee relations, commented, "This action by Mandate is extraordinary in its approach to a good employer who has complied with all procedures and who needs to react to the changing retail environment.

"Tesco must ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of their business. Mandate should now accept the recommendation of the Labour Court and should withdraw from this industrial action as it can only do damage."

Mandate has said that the company is trying to push through changes to contracts without agreement for roughly 250 employees who were hired before 1996.

Tesco Ireland has said that 'the pre-1996 terms and conditions were agreed over 21 years ago before late nights, Sunday openings and online shopping.

'We want to improve our customer service but these terms are no longer suitable as we have too many people working during the earlier quieter times of the week and this creates unfairness between colleagues.'

The matter had gone before the Labour Court, resulting in a recommendation released in November 2016. The proposed resolution would see the rate of pay protected (with 90% of affected workers seeing a pay rise, protection of two-thirds of guaranteed overtime, along with other concessions), or an offer of a voluntary redundancy, with an average payout of €105,000.

However, the union said the revamped contract would force some workers to receive pay cuts of 15%. The employees wish to maintain their pre-1996 contracts.

On 9 February, a briefing was held by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), where Mandate's John Douglas had asked members to shop according to their conscience, as reported by TheJournal.ie. He said he was deliberately not using the term 'boycott'.

In response, Tesco said that it was 'shocked that trade union leaders are urging union workers to shop in non-unionised stores.'

It said it is the only food retailer to recognise trade unions in all of its stores.

'We believe the ICTU should use its authority to encourage Mandate to abide by the outcomes of the Labour Court and accept the recommendation which the union themselves had sought. That recommendation remains as the only solution to this issue.'

© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Karen Henderson. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine

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