The Mandate trade union is warning strike action planned for two Tesco stores in the North West could spread nationwide.
Union members at stores in Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon have overwhelmingly backed industrial action on December 6th and December 14th.
The union said Tesco management have “breached collective agreements which they freely entered into with their workers.”
It said the dispute also centres around pay and conditions and the removal of canteen and break room facilities.
This afternoon, Mandate spokesperson Ciaran Campbell said the dispute could spread nationwide if there is no resolution.
“At this moment in time there is a full workday stoppage taking place this Thursday,” he said.
“There is more strike action planned; it is up to the company really to state what their intentions are and to be honest with, to put it mildly, they need to grow a pair.”
He said the only way the action can be averted is if the company, “actually publicly come out and state that they are prepared to abide by their own collective agreement procedures on these particular issues, in these particular stores – and going forward.”
“If we get those guarantees, then we will go into the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), if necessary, and begin a process of active engagement to resolve the grievances,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tesco has insisted the call for strike action is in breach of agreed procedures – under which all disputes must be referred to the WRC.
It said both stores will remain open despite the strikes.
“We regret that Mandate is inflicting this inconvenience on our customers in December when our stores are at their busiest and particularly given these stores are close to the Border,” it said.
It said the union rejected a planned conciliation conference and insisted that management have “always abided by agreed procedures and we expect Mandate to do the same.”
The company insisted the terms and condition it offers its workers are “the best pay and benefits in our sector.”