Friday 24 November 2017

300 staff at fruit firm get 2pc pay rise after Tesco deal

Tesco: The 2pc wage increase for the 13,000 staff will be paid from next January
Tesco: The 2pc wage increase for the 13,000 staff will be paid from next January

Anne-Marie Walsh Industry Correspondent

MORE than 300 warehouse workers are set for a 2pc pay rise after staff at Tesco won the same increase.

The Labour Court has recommended that staff at Keelings Distribution accept the wage offer made by their employer to mirror a pay hike at their main customer, Tesco.

It said the company should also make a special once-off payment of €350 to each worker, if they accepted the court's findings.

In addition, the court recommended the introduction of an incentive scheme for staff which could further boost their earnings, similar to a scheme at Tesco.

Fruit firm Keelings previously told the court it would give the increase to its staff, based in Ballymun in Dublin, after Tesco workers accepted a similar deal.

Staff at Tesco recently balloted in favour of the wage increase. The 2pc wage increase for the 13,000 staff will be paid from next January and is worth roughly €700-a-year per worker.

The proposed pay rise at Keelings is not the first knock-on wage increase at a time most of the country's workers are enduring pay freezes.

Recently, Mandate lodged claims on behalf of 8,000 sales assistants for the same 2pc increase for staff at Penneys, Dunnes Stores and Boots.

Inflation

The union also secured a 2.5pc rise for over 3,000 staff at Marks and Spencer, to keep pace with inflation.

However, SIPTU had argued for a 6pc pay rise for Keelings staff. It said it was particularly keen to boost the wages of lower-paid operatives who earn €9.50 an hour.

The union told the court at a hearing earlier this month that its members were entitled to a 6pc increase after agreeing to a '9 Point Plan' two years ago.

This meant they accepted "greater efficiencies, flexibilities and other cost-saving measures".

SIPTU members reacted by balloting for industrial action, but the dispute eventually ended up at the Labour Relations Commission.

The row was eventually referred to the Labour Court and a hearing took place on July 5.

In its new recommendation, the court said it could not accept a claim it had previously rejected. It said the union should accept the company's offer for a 2pc increase.

It is understood staff will ballot on its recommendation within days. A Keelings spokes- person was not available for comment.

Irish Independent

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