Tesco staff vote overwhelmingly for industrial action in Mandate union vote

Tesco retail employees have voted in favour of industrial action over plans to change their pay and conditions.

The Mandate trade union, which represents around 1,000 workers in Tesco branches around Ireland, balloted their members on strike action this lunchtime.

The union said that 99% of those balloted backed the move, with a turnout of 85%.

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Tesco has opened a voluntary redundancy scheme and has deferred reductions in pay and conditions until May 16.

"We're going to serve strike notice on the company today," said Brendan O’Hanlon from Mandate.

"We need to protect these workers , so the strike notice will be that in the event that Tesco makes those changes to those people's terms and conditions of employment, without their agreement, we will take industrial action.

"That strike notice will be served today, but will only take effect if the company cuts the workers' wages.

"We don't want to do anything to damage Tesco's business here. Our aim is to make Tesco a profitable employer and that our members share in those profits."

Tesco Ireland employs approximately 14,500 workers in its 149 stores in the Republic of Ireland.

Update 3.19pm: Tesco Ireland later released a statement saying that the change is necessary to benefit customer service and that a voluntary redundancy scheme for staff on the pre-1996 contract has been made available.

“We are disappointed with the result of the Mandate ballot of our pre-1996 colleagues,” the statement read.

“We have proposed a generous compensation offer including a voluntary redundancy scheme at five weeks per year of service uncapped and compensation of 2.5 times annual loss of earnings for colleagues moving to our main contract.

“We are proposing to move these colleagues to our main contract, which already covers the vast majority of our workforce, as the pre-1996 contract means we have too many colleagues working during the early quieter times of the week and not enough during the busiest.

“Yesterday we confirmed that due to opening a voluntary redundancy scheme and to allow time to process applications, we have delayed the implementation date for these changes to May 16, 2016.”

The company said it remains open to constructive discussions in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Gerry Light of Mandate claimed earlier that “the company accepted the invitation to attend the WRC …waiting for the result of the ballot before they agreed to engage.”

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