Tesco strike is off, with new talks to begin
Strike action at Tesco has been suspended as both sides agreed to enter talks.
A bitter dispute has centred on proposed changes to the conditions of employment for 250 staff who were hired before 1996.
The trade union Mandate claimed that Tesco was trying to cut their pay by 15pc in some cases, and get rid of fixed-hour contracts. But Tesco said that it had not changed contracts.
There were 16 stores on strike, and according to Mandate 1,600 employees in total were on the picket line.
However, the strike action will be lifted this weekend as both sides prepare for talks in the Labour Court.
"Tesco confirms that it is engaging in discussions instigated by the Labour Court to resolve the current dispute related to pre-1996 terms and conditions," the retail giant said last night.
"Mandate will immediately suspend all industrial action and Tesco has confirmed that it will not make any changes to pre-1996 terms and conditions whilst this process is ongoing."
John Douglas, the trade union's general secretary, wrote to members last night thanking them for their "personal resolve and solidarity during this most difficult time".
He said that the Labour Court had requested that Tesco Ireland Ltd "refrain from unilaterally imposing changes to the pre-96 contracts for the duration of the process".
It also asked that Mandate suspend picketing and that parties agree on "an orderly and peaceful return to work and that there are no recriminations either by or against staff or management as a result of the dispute to date."