Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, has said that the strike action proposed by Mandate at a number of Tesco stores next week is unjustified, unreasonable and is in defiance of Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court recommendations.
Ibec Director of Employer Relations, Maeve McElwee said "This action by Mandate is extraordinary in its approach to a good employer who has complied with all procedures and who needs to react to the changing retail environment. Tesco must ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of their business. Mandate should now accept the recommendation of the Labour Court and should withdraw from this industrial action as it can only do damage.”
1. Recommendations of industrial relations machinery. Tesco has fully engaged with all of the industrial relations machinery of the State for over twelve months in an effort to reach agreement on necessary changes to support the business. Despite lengthy negotiations over the past twelve months, the trade unions have refused to accept the recommendations of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) and the Labour Court. Tesco have stated throughout that they will compensate employees for change The recommendations of the Labour Court, accepted by Tesco and rejected by Mandate include:
· Rate of pay is protected
· Premiums paid in line with all other colleagues
· 5% share bonus protected
· 2/3 guaranteed overtime protected
· Sundays continue to be voluntary
· Partial flexibility 2 days out of 5
· Compensation paid at twice or 2.5 times annual loss depending on option
· Goodwill gesture of €2,000 or €3,000 depending on option
· Voluntary redundancy of 5 weeks per year uncapped. The average pay out to date is €105,000.
2. Changed retail environment. Tesco are seeking some changes to terms and conditions that were agreed over 21 years ago before late nights, Sunday openings and online shopping. The inflexibility of these old contracts creates unfairness between colleagues and impacts customer service in a modern retail environment. This issue is not unique to Tesco and many employers in the retail sector have renegotiated contracts as retail patterns and habits have evolved.
3. Tesco in Ireland. Tesco employs 14,000 staff in Ireland and offers above-market rates of pay and employee benefits including share bonus, sick pay, banded hours as well as recognising trade unions across all stores.