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Solidarity with Tesco Ireland Valentine’s Day strike

February 8, 2017 Leave a comment
Poster produced by the Activist for use in solidarity selfies with the Tesco workers strike in Ireland

Poster produced by the Activist for use in solidarity selfies with the Tesco workers strike in Ireland

Up to 15 Tesco stores in Ireland will face strike action on Valentine’s Day 14 February after members of the trade union Mandate, which represents more than 10,000 workers at the company, voted 78% in favour of a walkout over contract changes.

Scott Jones, Usdaw East London Retail branch chair (personal capacity)

The changes Tesco Ireland are attempting to force through without agreement affect approximately 250 workers employed before 1996. The new contracts would result in some workers experiencing reduced incomes of up to 15% along with increased ‘flexibility’.

Tesco began their attack on pre-1996 staff more than one year ago when they intimidated and bullied more than 900 workers out of their jobs through a redundancy programme and strike action was narrowly avoided then.

The remaining 250 workers want to stay in the company on the contracts they have but the company is insisting they accept reduced terms and conditions.

This followed moves at Tesco in the UK to drive down terms and conditions last year when hundreds of staff lost out as a result of the pay deal which caused pay cuts in overtime, weekend and night premiums. Meanwhile Tesco CEO Dave Lewis received £4.1 million in his first six months as boss in 2015 and Tesco reported that it had its best sales growth at the end of last year’s quarter for over five years. This profit was further boosted by the Christmas sales meaning that Tesco is on course to deliver a profit of “at least” £1.2 billion for 2016-17.

As one Tesco worker said then: “I’d rather have a living wage than support the lifestyles of shareholders.”

We support Tesco workers in Ireland and their trade union Mandate for taking this action against Tesco’s attempt to implement increasingly low-paid, part-time precarious work in its stores. And we call on Usdaw, the shop workers’ union in Britain, to raise solidarity and discuss industrial action so that the strength of the 160,000 Usdaw members in Tesco is used to fight against low pay and attacks on conditions.

We would encourage all Usdaw reps and other labour movement activists who wish to support the strike to send solidarity messages to the workers via their website (https://tescoworkers.com/contact-us/) and also send copies to usdawactivist@gmail.com. We have produced a poster (see image above) that can be printed out to take ‘solidarity selfies’ and photos with to be shared on social media, tag @MandateTU on Twitter

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Irish Tesco Warehouse Staff Tagged

February 14, 2013 1 comment
Irish news has reported that Tesco at the Donabate warehouse in Dublin has come up with a new gadget to monitor staff performance. The motorola device tracks staff movement and records speed at which orders are picked from the warehouse and also rates the speed of forklift drivers. It grades the staff based on speed which raises levels of competition in the workplace which will no doubt lead to increased pressure on the mainly Eastern European workers to do as much work as possible.

The staff can turn it off when on their lunch break but then it keeps rolling while you take a toilet break, drink of water or need to stop during the shift at any other time. Which means that your productivity score at the end of the day will include any pauses. This could have an effect in union organisation (not to mention health and safety concerns) if staff are rushing around preventing them from communicating with others.

In the last five years the average number of employees in a 40,000 foot Tesco superstore has fallen by 18%. This is partly due to them replacing cashiers with self-service tills and the introduction of schemes such as the dreaded SYA (in 2004), its sickness and absence policy the most common reason for disciplinary hearings, a scheme piloted by Tesco and then introduced into the public sector. The workers are organised in SIPTU but pressure needs to be put on Usdaw to be on watch for similar practices spreading to the UK.

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