A spokesperson for Tesco Ireland has told Checkout that the company is "disappointed" by Mandate Trade Union's decision to ballot its members at the retailer for industrial action in the coming weeks.
Mandate says it made the decision after Tesco "refused to accept a Labour Court recommendation - which said all workers in the company are entitled to a 2pc pay increase and a share bonus payment." The union added that the retailer is "now attempting to force significant wage cuts on a large number of staff members".
However, Tesco issued a response, saying; "It is really disappointing that the Trade Union has decided to adopt this position when the vast majority of our store colleagues have received the benefits of the recent Labour Court recommendation and when we remain open to discussions with the Trade Unions in regard to our pre-1996 colleagues.
"In recent weeks, eligible colleagues received a 1.5% lump sum cash payment, which is consistent with the spirit of the Labour Court recommendation and which did not apply to pre-1996 colleagues, as their contract gave them an automatic entitlement to a 5% award which was honoured in 2015.
"We also announced a 2% pay increase, backdated to April 2015, to all eligible colleagues covered by the collective agreement, with the exception of pre-1996 colleagues whose terms are currently subject to discussions between the company and the Trade Unions. No final decision has been made with regard to these colleagues, which is not uncommon where there are other discussions taking place."
The spokesperson added that Tesco remains "open to meaningful conversations with the Trade Union within the time set out".
Tesco said that it has been in discussions with the retailer for over nine weeks now "without reaching an agreement. The feedback from our colleagues has been that they wanted to understand what the proposed compensation package looked like from the business directly. Based on this feedback we have begun gauging interest in the proposed terms with these colleagues."
Mandate General Secretary John Douglas said; “Tesco are trying to drive a wedge between their own workers by paying one group a pay increase while denying it to others. It’s a classic case of divide and conquer.
"We believe our members will see through this and stand together to ensure no worker in Tesco faces cuts and instead the company implements the full terms of the Labour Court recommendation."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Niall Swan