TESCO workers are set to demand a pay rise to reflect “the rapidly increasing” cost of living and their “immeasurable” contribution during the pandemic.
The move comes after an overwhelming majority of Mandate members rejected wage proposals brokered at the Workplace Relations Commission.
It is understood that the proposed agreement would have meant they lost weekend premium payments and a new consolidated pay rate would have come into force.
In a message to members today, Mandate general secretary Gerry Light said the outcome of the national ballot on the new “pay and reward model” was “both emphatic and decisive”.
A total of 88pc of members voted against the proposals, and Mr Light said there was an “unprecedented” turnout.
He said the ballot result showed “there is an urgent need for a pay increase that reflects the rapidly increasing levels in the cost of living and also the immeasurable contribution that you and your fellow workers have made to the Tesco Ireland business since the arrival of Covid”.
He said a pay claim that was previously lodged is “still alive”.
Mr Light disputed claims he said were being made that union had “stitched up” a set of proposals behind closed doors with little worker involvement.
He said the negotiations took place at the Workplace Relations Commission with a high level of shop steward involvement. Mr Light rejected claims of union-busting at meetings where attendance was reduced and said this was due to Covid safety regulations.
He assured members their views would shape where they “go from here” and said divisional shop steward meetings will take place next week.
This will be followed by a national survey of members on their working arrangements, and a national shop stewards’ meeting in January.
Sources said the proposal that was rejected would have meant increases worth 11pc.
A total of 6pc would have been in lieu of premium payments, which would be consolidated into pay, and 5pc to cover cost of living increases.
Workers would have moved from a defined benefit pension scheme to a defined contribution scheme.
A Tesco Ireland spokesperson said, “Tesco, trade unions (Mandate & SIPTU) and colleague representatives have been engaged in discussions on proposals regarding changes to reward and benefits over several months.
"Under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), agreement was reached on a set of proposals, and recommended for acceptance by the trade unions. These proposals were then put to a colleague vote which did not pass. We will now take some time to reflect with a view to further engagement with trade unions and colleague representatives.”
Meanwhile, the threat of a pre-Christmas strike at Tesco has been averted in the UK.
Over 1,000 members in depots in Antrim, Belfast, Didcot and Doncaster were due to take industrial action.
Unite had demanded that the supermarket chain increase a pay offer to warehouse workers and drivers or face disruption.
A Tesco spokesperson said the company is pleased to have agreed a pay deal with Unite that it recommends to its members.
“Colleagues at these centres will no longer be taking industrial action,” she said. “ We look forward to delivering a fantastic Christmas for customers.”