Mandate Trade Union has announced that a strike of indefinite duration will take place in more than 70 Tesco Ireland stores from Thursday morning at 7 am (26th May 2016) following a breakdown in talks in the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).
TESCO with an estimated profit of over €200m per year are looking to inflate their profits in Ireland by undermining pay and conditions for their staff. TESCO aim to force redundancy on those workers employed on contracts before 1996 so that they can move forward with a workforce on a reduced wage. Those who have refused redundancy are being bullied into accepting new terms which amount to a loss of earnings of between 15% and 35% of their wages.
The new terms would slash overtime cut Sunday and unsociable hour’s premiums as well as reduce the workers annual bonus this alongside change to rosters will ensure that most jobs in TESCOs will be precarious, low paid and supplemented by state welfare payments.
Companies making huge profits out of Irish workers and customers should be held accountable for providing for decent pay and conditions. It is unacceptable that the tab for low paid work should be paid by the tax payer. These corporations who escape paying their share are attacking the very workers and communities who built their company.
On top of attacks on pay and conditions the introduction of reduced contracts is part of a trend across the retail sector to hollow out decent jobs in the sector. Over 80% of workers in retail are on part time hours and the companies involved have no shame in that. The majority of workers in TESCOs are on 20 hour contracts, over 70% are women.
To add insult, the management at TESCOs have up to very rece
ntly denied workers access to their union representation which can only be seen as a blatant attack on workers. This must be resisted by all in the labour and trade union movement. The workers at TESCO in an important display of solidarity have voted in their overwhelming to take strike action to protect the working conditions of their colleagues. This should be praised and supported by every worker.
Tesco management are attempting to force changes to workers’ conditions of employment including:
- 15-35% pay cuts.
- The slashing of overtime.
- Cuts to Sunday and unsociable hour’s premiums from double pay to time and a half.
- A reduction in the annual bonus.
- Changes to rosters.
Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said: “Tesco management have failed to provide any evidence to justify making changes to workers’ conditions of employment without agreement, and that’s clearly why they haven’t agreed to attend the Labour Court. Mandate and Tesco not only have an agreement to attend the Labour Court in such circumstances, we have a long history of that practice being utilised successfully in the past.”
He added, “To say to a group of workers ‘we’re cutting your pay by up to 25 percent and we don’t have to give you evidence or justify those cuts’ is a shameful way to treat workers who have built the company to what it is over more than twenty years. For us, and our members, the situation is very clear. Tesco are attempting to increase already significant profits at the expense of their longest serving workers.”
Ireland needs legislation to protect all workers from these aggressive moves by companies making huge profits. The same race to the bottom that was underway during the recession is still very much the agenda.