Sunday 21 January 2018

Tesco blackens out zebra crossing for strike 'safety'

Janis Graham, left, and Jade Murray at a strike in Phibsboro, Dublin Picture: Collins Photo Agency
Janis Graham, left, and Jade Murray at a strike in Phibsboro, Dublin Picture: Collins Photo Agency

Anne-Marie Walsh

Tesco blacked out a zebra crossing "to protect pedestrians" as a strike at the supermarket chain took a bizarre twist.

A spokesperson claimed it painted over the stripes on a crossing in Bray, Co Wicklow, after receiving a "high volume" of complaints from people who were concerned for their safety.

It said there was a "constant presence" of picketers on the crossing who were there to "obstruct traffic".

"It was also preventing the public from safely crossing outside our Bray store," said the spokesperson.

"As a result, the traffic crossing in our car park was removed and instead we have positioned two lollipop ladies and two security guards at the junction to ensure safe passage for both pedestrians and traffic."

Retail union Mandate described Tesco's claims as ridiculous and said the picketers were informing passers-by of the issues in the dispute over new contracts for 250 long-serving staff.

It said that drivers were stopping of their own accord.

Union spokesperson Dave Gibney said the painting over of the zebra crossing had caused extreme anxiety for people, particularly parents, as there are three schools nearby.

"We call on the company to remedy this as soon as possible as not only us, but parents, are raising the issue," he said.

"Zebra crossings are there for health and safety reasons. You don't get rid of one for health and safety reasons."

He said the paintwork had been applied during the night, as union members had found the crossing blacked out just after 7am yesterday.

Meanwhile, talks between management and the union were adjourned last night. Discussions between the two sides began before lunchtime at a hotel in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

A further eight stores joined the industrial action that was already taking place at eight other stores yesterday.

Tesco said its stores will remain open over the weekend despite the industrial action.

Meanwhile, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called for "a substantial increase" in the minimum wage.

It wants the €9.25 per hour statutory rate to increase to a 'living wage' rate of €11.50 per hour.

In a submission to the Low Pay Commission, it said there is widespread support for its demand and called on the commision to "reflect this consensus".

According to Congress official Liam Berney, there is strong evidence of upward growth in earnings and profits, while employment is also increasing.

"The Congress submission points out that the minimum wage applies to just 3.5pc of the workforce - therefore the impact of any increase in employment costs will be minimal," he said, adding that more than 73pc of those on the minimum wage are female.

Irish Independent

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