Saturday 24 March 2018

Over 70 Tesco stores face indefinite closure as strike action looms

Tesco has a 24.8pc share of the market - helped by the back-to-school market
Tesco has a 24.8pc share of the market - helped by the back-to-school market

Anne-Marie Walsh, Industry Correspondent

OVER 70 Tesco stores may face closure indefinitely from Thursday due to strike action following the breakdown of talks.

Mandate said that staff will mount pickets from 7am after talks with the supermarket giant over its plans to move long-serving staff onto new contracts collapsed at the Workplace Relations Commission early this morning.

The union said the strike is avoidable if the company withdraws its threat to force 1,000 staff members onto the new contract that would mean they would lose up to 35pc of their earnings.

It said management is trying to impose pay cuts between 15pc and 35pc, slash overtime, and cut Sunday and unsocial hour premiums from double pay to time and a half.

The retail union said it also wants to cut the annual bonus and change rosters.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said management had failed to provide any evidence to justify making changes to workers’ conditions of employment without agreement.

He said that was why it had not agreed to attend the Labour Court.

Tesco is the largest private sector employer in the Republic, with 14,000 workers in 149 stores.

Mandate estimates the company is enjoying profits of over €200m a year.

In a statement today, Tesco said they are "extremely disappointed" with Mandate's announcement.

"Our stores and online service will open for business as normal on Thursday 26 May," they said.

"As no changes in relation to the c300 colleagues on the pre-1996/97 contract have been made, we consider such action inconsistent with the ballot which only mandated action in the event we implement change.

"We deferred the proposed implementation date for this contract change to facilitate constructive discussions in the WRC, for which we have always been available, and we made no decision at the WRC about setting a new implementation date.

"Further only 30pc of colleagues in affected stores eligible to vote actually voted in support of this action."

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