Update from Mandate on Tesco Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon strikes

Tuesday 4 December 2018

Mandate members employed in Sligo and Carrick on Shannon have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action. Here Mandate Assistant General Secretary has a message for all Tesco members.

“Over the next few weeks in the lead up to Christmas your fellow union members working in Tesco branches located in Sligo and Carrick – on – Shannon will engage in a series of one day strikes with the first strike taking place in Sligo this Thursday 6th December.

Why are these strikes happening? Well I think we all know the answer to that. It’s simply because your employer Tesco Ireland has refused to reasonably deal with a series of local issues which have been outstanding for a long period of time. Of course this type of behaviour by management is not confined to these two stores or indeed local issues. For all of you have over the course of the past three years in one way or another experienced the unfolding consequences of Tesco’s long term strategy to get rid of your union from its Irish business.

In response to the developing situation in Sligo and Carrick –on- Shannon Tesco issued a press release stating and I quote “Tesco has always abided by agreed procedures and we expect Mandate to do the same”. This view was also reflected in a company memo to all stores yesterday. This statement by management is simply not true because recent experience has shown that the opposite is actually the case.

On a constant basis your union has been cautioning you and your fellow members as to what the future will hold if Tesco get their way and don’t have a strong and effective union to deal with in the future. This is not scaremongering and if you don’t believe me look at some of the things that have happened in the recent past which are all clear breaches of agreements previously negotiated with your union.

  • Tesco no longer collectively negotiates your core terms and conditions such as pay, weekly hours and rosters, instead management now decides how much you get and when you get it.
  • Tesco no longer fulfils its without exception obligation to attend at the Workplace Relations Commission or the Labour Court, rather they attend when it suits them
  • Tesco no longer places new workers into union membership and this includes the most recent new store openings.
  • Tesco no longer will allow your full time Union Officials into stores to represent members
  • Tesco no longer allow union correspondence and information to be place on instore notice boards
  • Tesco no longer grants release for your local union Shop Stewards to be trained in their role
  • Tesco no longer participates in local or national information and consultation forums
  • Tesco no longer provides proper canteen facilities
  • Tesco withhold wage increases due to certain members of staff

These are only a few examples of what I’m talking about, I could go on, but hopefully at this stage you see the bigger picture and where we are heading if we do not engage in a determined effort to resist this type of management behaviour which is no less than an outright attack on your established terms and conditions of employment with an ultimate objective to destroy your union and weaken your power at work.

This is why your fellow union members in Sligo and Carrick –on- Shannon are going on strike. Their simple message to the company is they are not prepared to tolerate this ongoing attack on them and their union any further. Let me be quite clear their fight is your fight and if you are to achieve ultimate success you must be all prepared to join that fight when called upon.

I’m sure you are anxious to show support for your fellow members who are about to go on strike for issues that are and should be of concern to you. The best way you can do this is to stay strong in your own store and fight against any changes that are being proposed without formal negotiation with your union. If you resistance is met with a determination by management to push the changes through then you have no other credible alternative but to contemplate a similar approach to your fellow members in Sligo and Carrick. And if you do this you will be fully supported by your union. Most of all you must ensure that none of you agree to work in the two stores whilst they are on strike.

Always remember that together we are stronger and together we will win.

Thank you”

Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary