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As the only retailer to recognise Unions in all our stores, Tesco is astonished that ICTU encourages Union members to shop in non-unionised stores

Tesco Ireland is shocked at the stance taken by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on this company's dispute with Mandate.

Tesco Ireland is the only food retailer to recognise Trade Unions in all of its stores and we are shocked that Trade Union leaders are urging Union workers to shop in non-unionised stores.

The only issue in this dispute is Mandate’s decision to reject a Labour Court Recommendation on changes to pre-1996 terms and conditions.

Tesco has followed all industrial relations procedures and processes and has worked with all the industrial relations machinery of the State over the past year in an effort to resolve it. Tesco has accepted the Labour Court Recommendation as an independent outcome.  This questioning by ICTU undermines the independence and authority of the Court and is regrettable.

We believe the ICTU should use its authority to encourage Mandate to abide by the outcomes of the Labour Court and accept the Recommendation which the Union themselves had sought.  That Recommendation remains as the only solution to this issue.

Tesco is the only employer in the food retail sector to recognise Trade Unions across all of its stores, offering leading market rates of pay, conditions, benefits and careers. We operate in an intensely competitive market against non-unionised retailers who Mandate does not attack. We are further disappointed that Mandate continues to engage in a campaign of myths and misinformation to misguide our colleagues and damage our business impacting everyone who works for Tesco.

Tesco continues to call on Mandate to re-think its plan to damage the company with a strike. Given the small number of stores being balloted and the small numbers of colleagues actually participating in the ballot, there is an urgent need for a re-assessment by Mandate.  Less than half of colleagues in some stores balloted actually voted in favour of action.

It is most unusual that Mandate is refusing to accept the Labour Court’s Recommendation on flexibility changes to pre-1996 terms and conditions which affect 250 people of our 14,500 strong workforce. The Recommendation protects colleagues’ rate of pay with 90 per cent actually getting a pay increase under the Labour Court proposals.

Tesco also refutes claims by Mandate that 900 jobs have been lost. In the course of discussions in the WRC, we opened a generous voluntary redundancy scheme offering 5 weeks per year of service uncapped for anyone who didn’t want to change, with average payouts of €105,000. As part of our commitment to give existing colleagues more hours, in the last 12 months we made a permanent commitment to nearly 4,000 colleagues that they would work a minimum of 5 extra hours per week on top of their regular working week. This is part of our commitment to create better quality jobs with more than 50% of our colleagues working in excess of 30 hours per week.

It is our intention that all Tesco stores will open for business as usual next Tuesday, 14 February.

Ends

Notes to the Editor:

Further background information:

The pre-1996 terms and conditions were agreed over 21 years ago before late nights, Sunday openings and online shopping.  We want to improve our customer service but these terms are no longer suitable as we have too many people working during the earlier quieter times of the week and this creates unfairness between colleagues. We have always said that we will compensate colleagues for this change. 

Labour Court Recommendation

  • Rate of pay is protected
  • Premiums paid in line with everyone else
  • 5% share bonus has been protected
  • 2/3 guaranteed overtime is protected
  • Sundays continue to be voluntary 
  • Partial flexibility 2 days out of 5 
  • In event of loss of income, compensation paid at 2 times or 2.5 times annual loss depending on option
  • Goodwill gesture of €2,000

In addition, all colleagues will receive a pay increases now at 4% as part of the implementation of the Recommendation, as lump sum or rate increase

For colleagues who do not want to opt for the above there is a voluntary redundancy of 5 weeks per year uncapped. The average pay out to date is €105,000.