Friday 19 December 2008

Cross border shopping takes its toll on Leitrim store.

Up to twenty retail jobs have been temporarily saved in Tesco, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim following a union intervention according to Mandate trade union. The union claim that cross border shopping has affected sales in the store which is only a thirty minute drive from Enniskillen.

Tesco in Ballinamore currently employs 35 workers. It was envisaged that between 15-20 redundancies would need to take place in order to make the company commercially viable.

Mandate Divisional Organiser, Ciaran Campbell said, “This was a very difficult situation for both Tesco management and Mandate union officials. From working in partnership with Tesco we have come up with an alternative arrangement. Under this proposal, rather than twenty people being made redundant, we propose that a reduction in hours would be a fairer prospect for all employees.”

Mandate say that employees will now operate working approximately five hours less per week over the next three weeks. The union claims that the reduction in hours is a temporary measure and job losses are still a prospect should business not pick up. According to Tesco it is vital that payroll costs are slashed if sales do not increase.

Mr Campbell said, “It’s immediately obvious to everybody that the cross border shopping taking place is having a massive negative impact on retail sales in border counties in the Republic of Ireland. This has already cost a lot of jobs and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future unless something drastic happens.

Ideally we’d like to see more shoppers supporting local businesses; however, realistically we know it’s difficult for Irish consumers in the current economic climate. We would like to urge those who can afford to stay and do their shopping in the Republic to do so out of solidarity and in the long term interests of Irish business and the protection of Irish jobs.

Tesco in Ballinamore opened its doors on Monday, 8 September 2008 but projected sales have failed to materialise due to a variety of reasons including the currency fluctuation and VAT changes in both districts.