Tesco staff in indefinite strike

Long-serving Tesco workers are to start an indefinite strike in more than 70 stores tomorrow after talks on changes to their contracts broke down at the Workplace Relations Commission.

In January, management announced plans to move all pre-1996 staff onto a “modern contract” with those who moved being offered compensation. Those who did not want to move were offered voluntary redundancy.

In April, it revealed 700 of the 1,000 staff had opted for voluntary redundancy.

However, union Mandate said the other 300 staff are facing pay cuts of up to 35% as well as other negative terms under new contracts.

With threat of a strike over the issue, it was referred to WRC. Yesterday Mandate said talks had broken down and it is pressing ahead with the indefinite strike.

Mandate assistant general secretary, Gerry Light, said management failed to provide any evidence to justify making changes to workers’ conditions of employment without agreement.

A spokeswoman for Tesco said no changes to contracts had been made as yet making the strike “inconsistent with the ballot which only mandated action in the event we implement change”.

She said no date has been set for implementation of the new contract. She said Tesco management tabled new proposals at the WRC which Mandate rejected without giving members the opportunity to vote on them.

“The new proposals give colleagues a number of options including compensation for a full contract buyout and compensation for partial buyout. The partial buyout option means that the vast majority of colleagues will not only retain their pay rate but actually benefit from a pay increase inclusive of the recent 2% pay increase; protects the guaranteed 5% share bonus award; awards a €3,000 lump sum payment and gives colleagues a 2% backdated payment to April 2015 in settlement of the 2015 pay claim.”


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