Mandate Trade Union has criticised Tesco’s management, claiming that it has received reports from members of staff of "bullying", and that staff are being put under pressure to leave the company.
According to the union, Tesco management have told staff employed before 1996 that they will experience pay cuts of up to 35%, as well as having their rosters and hours changed, on 16 May if they don’t accept a redundancy package.
"They’re telling workers who have been with them for more than 20 years that unless they accept a redundancy package, they will have their conditions of employment changed without agreement," said Gerry Light, Mandate Assistant General Secretary.
Light also claimed that Tesco’s management was offered an invitation by the Workplace Relations Commission to engage in talks on 25 April, and that while the union accepted, the company will not attend until 2 May.
A Tesco spokesperson that Checkout spoke to refuted the union's allegations, saying, "In the course of discussions on our proposals to move colleagues working on the pre-1996 contract to our main employment contract, following requests from colleagues we agreed to open up a voluntary redundancy scheme offering 5 weeks per year of service uncapped. For colleagues who have not taken voluntary redundancy, we have confirmed that we will pay compensation of 2.5 times their annual loss of income."
The spokesperson added that "feedback from our colleagues was that the voluntary redundancy offer was generous and fair. Over 70% of our pre-1996 colleagues have now accepted voluntary redundancy.
"We continue to focus on implementing this change for our remaining pre-1996 colleagues which takes effect from 16 May, and will continue to engage colleagues on this issue in advance of this date."
Finally, the spokesperson noted that last week, Tesco confirmed that in the "event of people choosing to leave the business through voluntary redundancy, where extra hours to cover certain responsibilities become available, we would give them to existing colleagues. Today we have formally opened up applications to existing colleagues to let us know if they would like to increase the minimum number of banded hours they work each week."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.