Thursday 23 April 2009

Mandate say, “strike action cannot be ruled out at this stage.”

The Mandate trade union said today that its members in Tesco are extremely disappointed at proposals by the company to reduce the earnings of its workers despite posting record profits on Tuesday of in excess of £3.1 billion sterling.
Mandate held a national shop stewards meeting on Tuesday (21 April 2009) in Dublin in order to discuss a union response to several issues affecting over 10,000 staff members across the country. The proposals by Tesco would see workers take a reduction in wages along with a future erosion of their terms and conditions of employment.
Mandate Assistant General Secretary, Linda Tanham explained that the shop stewards’ meeting was attended by over 80 Tesco staff members from stores throughout the Republic of Ireland. The issues discussed which affect all Tesco workers in Ireland include:
· Tesco’s refusal to pay the terms of the National Wage Agreement despite not pleading inability to pay and obviously being a very profitable company posting profits yesterday of over £3.1 billion sterling for the full year;
· The cutting of hours below those negotiated in workers contracts in approximately 21 stores throughout the country;
· A reduction of the voluntary redundancy package negotiated and agreed with Mandate;
· The suspension of premium payments for workers including the late night, overtime and early morning supplements for at least one year.
Ms Tanham said that “Tesco’s behaviour is an opportunistic attack on workers standards of living at a time when the company is more profitable than ever before.”
Mandate had already announced that their members in Douglas, Co. Cork will be striking over the company’s ultimatum whereby workers are being forced into accepting either a compulsory buyout of terms and conditions or alternatively a compulsory redundancy package.
The union has written to Tesco stating that they are available to meet with the company, but only on condition that the dispute in Douglas is resolved and Tesco recognise existing agreements with Mandate.
Referring to the situation nationally, Linda Tanham said, “There was clear frustration and disappointment at the national shop stewards meeting. Mandate must now decide on a course of action and at this point we cannot rule out a ballot for industrial action of some kind.”
Ms Tanham concluded by saying, “The workers are under no illusion as to what’s currently taking place in Tesco. They recognise that industrial action is always a last course of action, however, they realise what is coming down the line and they are quite clearly prepared to fight for the protection of their wages, terms and conditions and obviously their standards of living.”