LATEST: Tesco says strike action is 'unjustified'

Latest: Tesco says there is an onus on Mandate to accept a Labour Court recommendation to end the current industrial dispute.

  • Tesco claims strike action is 'unjustified'
  • Labour Court has issued recommendation
  • Union has tabled proposals, Tesco has not responded
  • Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called on Tesco to respond to union proposals

Update 5.40pm: Tesco says there is an onus on Mandate to accept a Labour Court recommendation to end the current industrial dispute.

The union made a number of proposals to the company on Friday but has not yet received a response.

It says if the retailer does not respond today it will have no option but to ballot for further action.

Tesco says the Labour Court - which is the key player in solving industrial disputes - has already found a solution, which needs to be respected.

Spokesperson for the company is Christine Heffernan: "The Labour Court has issued a recommendation.

"It addresses all the issues that have been raised by our colleagues throughout this process and Tesco has accepted that, so we think that Mandate should reconsider their course of action, they should accept the Labour Court recommendation, and also they should recognise that the strike action they are now taking is unjustified."

Update 3.05pm: The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called on Tesco Ireland to respond positively to proposals aimed at ending the dispute at stores around the country.

The union Mandate has said it made a series of proposals to the company on Friday and it is still waiting for a response.

Congress has urged the company to consider the proposals seriously and re-enter talks.

Mandate General Secretary John Douglas said if the company doesn't respond today it will have no option but to ballot for further action but Tesco has said it is “shocked” at the suggestion of further ballots.

In a statement the company said: “Mandate did not put forward a positive proposal rather they wanted to turn the clock back 13 months and unpick all the work done by the WRC and Labour Court. This was rejected by Tesco on Friday as the Labour Court has provided the solution to this issue.”

“We are shocked that Mandate is balloting in more stores this week in an effort to up the ante in this dispute. There is no justification for strike action when there is a Labour Court backed solution to this issue.”

Earlier: As the Tesco dispute enters another week, the Mandate trade union says it is disappointed the company has not responded to proposals tabled at last week's talks.

The union has said it made a genuine effort to achieve a breakthrough in the current dispute between the parties.

Mandate General Secretary John Douglas says if the proposals had been accepted, action could have been suspended immediately.

“We tabled a document on Friday which, had it been agreed by the company at the time, would have allowed the pickets be removed on Friday or anytime over the weekend but they haven’t even bothered to respond to us.

“The next stage is it will be escalated. The pickets are very solid, there is fantastic public support. It is unfortunate that we have no option but to escalate it, causing more disruption to the public and more financial hardship to the workers concerned.”

Tesco Ireland said nearly 45,000 customers shopped in the 16 stores subject to what it called “unjustified strike action” over the weekend.

In a statement it said: “We again call on Mandate to accept the Labour Court Recommendation as the solution to this issue. Mandate’s irresponsible refusal to accept the Labour Court Recommendation remains at the heart of this dispute.

“We believe the Mandate leadership should endorse the outcome of the State industrial relations process which both Tesco and Mandate jointly agreed to utilise to resolve the changes to the pre-1996 terms and conditions.”


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