Friday 21 July 2017

Five more Tesco stores vote against strike action but union says 2,000 staff to take to picket lines

Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Amy Molloy and Anne-Marie Walsh

Five more Tesco stores across Ireland have voted against strike action in a row over the axing of contracts for long-serving staff.

This week 18 out of 24 shops balloted have decided not to take to the picket lines.

However, 2,000 employees in 22 stores will still be striking next week.

Tesco says all its 148 stores will continue to remain open despite the industrial action going ahead.

John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary said they are fighting to ensure that new contracts aren't imposed on colleagues without their agreement.

"Strike notice has been served and these workers will begin picketing from Wednesday, 1 March next. We are in the process of arranging for more ballots to take place next week after requests have come in from the workers in the stores concerned," he said.

In a statement, Tesco Ireland said they viewed the recent ballots as "another emphatic rejection to Mandate's strike strategy".

"It is incontrovertible that Mandate's strike plan is not being endorsed as is shown not just by the union's overwhelming losses in ballots but also by the increasing number of colleagues crossing picket lines to return to work, with a further increase today".

Relations between the supermarket chain and the union have worsened with both sides engaged in a war of words over the ballot results.

Mandate has accused Tesco of pressurising workers who are balloting.

The strikes are in response to Tesco wanting to move 250 staff recruited before 1996 onto less favourable contracts.

Mandate insists that this change would hit workers in terms of both pay and conditions, with cuts of up to 15pc.

However, Tesco has continuously urged the union to accept the Labour Court recommendation to resolve the dispute.

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