'Workers have no choice' - Union responds to claims that strike action at eight Tesco stores 'unjustified'
Tesco workers will today picket eight of the grocery giant's shops in Ireland
Tesco workers have been "left with no option" but to take strike action, according to Mandate, the union that represents the bulk of employees.
Despite strikes going ahead at eight stores across Ireland, Tesco released a statement on Monday to say that all of its shops will remain open.
The statement described the industrial action as "unjustified" and outlined how business will continue as usual with special promotions in all stores for St Valentine's Day.
"Tesco is focused on continuing to serve its customers despite this unnecessary action by Mandate," it read.
In response, Mandate representative Dave Gibney said "They are definitely right that it is unnecessary, but workers have been left with no choice."
"Tesco employees, some who have worked with the company for 40 years, are not only standing up for themselves, but for any future employees of this extremely profitable company," he added.
Staff at stores in Baggot Street, Ballyfermot Road and Finglas in Dublin, as well as stores in Tralee, Longford, Navan, Tullamore, and Bray mounted pickets at 7am this morning.
Two stores in Ballina and Sligo decided not to take part in this week’s strike action due to a technical error made in the original ballot.
However, Tesco claimed that staff in Sligo and Ballina had decided to "defy" Mandate's call for strike action.
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 once again urged the union to accept the Labour Court recommendation to resolve the dispute.
The Labour Court's recommendation was as follows:
- Rate of pay is protected (90% of affected colleagues will see an increase in their rate of pay)
- Premiums paid in line with everyone else
- Pay increases implemented (now at 4%) as part of the Recommendation, as lump sum or rate increase
- 5pc share bonus has been protected
- 2/3 guaranteed overtime is protected
- Sundays continue to be voluntary
- Partial flexibility 2 days out of 5 on 5/6
- In event of loss of income, compensation paid at 2 times or 2.5 times annual loss depending on option
- Goodwill gesture of €2,000 or €3,000 depending on option to all affected colleagues
- OR Voluntary redundancy 5 weeks per year uncapped (average pay out to date is €105,000)
Workers rejected the recommendation and have said they will not return until a resolution is found.