Tesco Staff Strike In Ireland Suspended After Unions And Management Agree To Talks

Strikes at 70 Tesco stores in Ireland planned for Monday have been suspended after management and unions agreed to further talks.

The long-running stand-off between Tesco and unions stems from the retailer’s plan to change terms, including guaranteed overtime, for staff on pre-1996 contracts. The union Mandate has argued that workers affected by the changes would see their pay cut by between 15-35% with compensation being offered by Tesco deemed as unacceptable.

The transfer of 300 staff to the new contract was due to happen on Monday with the union Mandate saying that pickets would commence at the 70 stores where the pre-1996 workers are employed. However, after an invitation to talks at the Workplace Relations Commission, Tesco’s management has agreed to defer moving the relevant workers to the new contract – and Mandate has deferred the strike. The talks will take place next Wednesday with Tesco stressing that all its stores will be open for business as usual on Monday.

Mandate Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light said: “Mandate has always said we are prepared to engage with Tesco in good faith negotiations, either directly, or at a third party such as the WRC or the Labour Court, and that remains the case,” adding it was continuing to prepare for industrial action in the event that talks break down.

NAM Implications:
  • Obviously Tesco and the union want a one-off solution for 300 staff that did not opt for the redundancy package…
  • Any agreement cannot be seen to set a precedent in the Irish or UK operations, hence the stand-off
  • Meanwhile, the resulting uncertainty means that suppliers will need to move to short-term mode re deliveries, at least…
  • With any picketing providing opportunities for Tesco competitors, large and smaller…