Union issues '11th hour' call for talks with Tesco

Workers at eight of the supermarket's stores are set to go on indefinite strike from tomorrow

Union issues '11th hour' call for talks with Tesco

Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Trade union Mandate has issued an '11th hour' call for talks with Tesco ahead of planned strike action by workers tomorrow.

Workers at eight Tesco stores - in Tralee, Longford, Navan, Tullamore, Bray and three Dublin stores - will be going on 'indefinite strike' from tomorrow, with an additional eight stores set to be affected from Friday.

The dispute centres around the contracts of around 250 workers employed before 1996.

The supermarket is looking to change shift patterns to allow more flexibility when it comes to staffing. However, unions say the changes could result in some workers "experiencing reduced incomes of up to 15%" alongside the changes to conditions & flexibility.

Mandate represents more than 10,000 workers at Tesco Ireland.

The union's Assistant General Secretary Gerry Light says the strike could be called off "if Tesco Ireland agrees to operate on the basis of making changes to workers’ contracts through agreement".

In a statement, Mr Light said: "Instead of talking to its staff, we understand that Tesco is preparing to spend tens of thousands of Euros on full page advertisements in tomorrow’s newspapers.

"However, despite Tesco’s highhanded behaviour our offer to sort out the issues in this dispute still stands. Let’s get into talks and resolve the issues involved,” he added.

Tesco, meanwhile, has said all Tesco stores will be open for business tomorrow.

In a statement earlier today, the company said: "Tesco Ireland welcomes the decision this morning of our staff in two more stores – Sligo and Ballina – to defy Mandate’s call for strike. The move means that a total of 8 stores of the 24 balloted have rejected Mandate’s call for strike and should be used by Mandate to rethink its strategy and now accept the Labour Court Recommendation.

"Tesco calls on Mandate to accept the Labour Court Recommendation which affect 250 of the 14,500 colleagues in Tesco. It remains as the means to resolving the dispute which affects only a small number of staff and the indefinite strike is disproportionate action for Mandate’s other members in the company," the statement adds.