Friday 22 March 2019

Strike action planned for two Tesco stores in run-up to Christmas

  • Workers vote overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action ahead of Christmas
  • Strike action 'could easily spread to the other 150 stores' - union
Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Denise Calnan and Ryan Nugent

Tesco workers in two stores have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action ahead of Christmas.

There are also fears that strikes could spread in the coming months as union Mandate said it could "easily spread to the other 150 stores". Workers in Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon are now set to strike as they claim the company "continues to breach agreements and deny workers their right to collective representation".

Sligo workers will strike this Thursday, December 6 and again on Friday, December 14. The Sligo store voted in favour of industrial action by a margin of 97pc, with an 85pc turnout in the ballot.

In Carrick-on-Shannon, workers will strike on Saturday, December 22. Workers in that store also had an 85pc turnout, with 81pc voting in favour of strike.

"It’s extremely disappointing it has come to this," Mandate Trade Union General Secretary John Douglas said.

"Our members do not want to be on strike, particularly in the run up to Christmas, but unfortunately Tesco management have left them with no alternative.

"They have refused to engage with their workers on pay and conditions of employment, on the removal of canteens and break room facilities, they have refused to pay some workers a cost of living pay increase for four consecutive years, and crucially, they have breached collective agreements which they freely entered into with their workers."

In a statement to Independent.ie, Tesco appealed to Mandate to call off its one-day strike threats in two stores.

"They are in breach of the company and union’s agreed procedures which are to refer disputes to the Workplace Relations Commission," a statement said.

"If Mandate proceeds with the proposed unwarranted one-day strike actions for the two stores, both will continue to remain open to serve customers. 

"We regret that Mandate is inflicting this inconvenience on our customers in December when our stores are at their busiest and particularly given these stores are close to the Border.

"We call on Mandate to abide by procedures and to immediately withdraw its strike notices for Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon. 

"A conciliation conference on the two issues in Sligo was scheduled at the Workplace Relations Commission for October 24th but was rejected by Mandate. In Carrick-on-Shannon, the matters have not yet been referred back to the WRC by Mandate.

"Tesco has always abided by agreed procedures and we expect Mandate to do the same."

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