Just a few days after 1,000 long-serving staff voted for strike action over management plans to place them on inferior contracts, the company has claimed 700 have accepted a voluntary redundancy package.
Last January, Tesco management announced plans to move all its pre-1996 staff onto a “modern contract”. It said the pre-1996 contract meant it had too many staff working during the early quieter times of the week and not enough during the busiest. It offered staff who moved to new contracts compensation.
Then it opened up a voluntary redundancy scheme offering five weeks per year of service uncapped. For those who did not take voluntary redundancy, it said it would pay compensation of 2.5 times their annual loss of income.
Yesterday afternoon Mandate, the biggest staff union in Tesco, issued a statement saying it had been “inundated with calls from Tesco workers who are distraught because of the pressure management are putting on them to leave the company”.
It said Tesco management had told the pre-1996 staff they would experience pay cuts of up to 35% and have their rosters and hours changed on May 16 if they did not accept a redundancy package.
However, several hours later the company issued its own statement saying: “Feedback from our colleagues was that the voluntary redundancy offer was generous and fair. Over 70% of our pre-1996 colleagues have now accepted voluntary redundancy.
“We continue to focus on implementing this change for our remaining pre-1996 colleagues which takes effect from 16 May and will continue to engage colleagues on this issue in advance of this date.”
It also said it had opened up applications to existing staff to enable them to increase their hours in lieu of those which would be lost when the pre-1996 staff left.
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