IMPACT activists joined pickets outside Tesco’s Baggot Street and Drumcondra stores in Dublin last week after workers in 16 shops across the country took strike action over their employer’s attempt to downgrade conditions for staff hired before 1996. IMPACT deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan has urged members to give “practical support” to the workers by ‘shopping with their conscience’ and not passing Tesco pickets.
The staff affected, who earn a little over €14 per hour, say the company is targeting them because their older contracts give more secure hours and better pay than modern contracts. Their union Mandate has described the company’s treatment of the workers, all of whom have at least 21 years’ service, as “unjustified, unwarranted, unwelcome and unnecessary.”
Mandate claims that, if Tesco is successful in breaking pre-1996 contracts, management may target the contracts of 3,000 post-1996 workers. The union, which plans to ballot another 23 Tesco stores for industrial action this week, has welcomed Tesco Ireland’s agreement to enter into ‘without prejudice’ talks with a view to settling the current dispute.
Speaking outside the Baggot Street store, IMPACT lead organiser Joe O’Connor said: “IMPACT stands for decent work and fair pay for all workers, regardless of what sector they work in.”