UK retail giant Tesco said it has invited trade union Mandate to discuss the issues of possible industrial action by over 10,000 staff in Ireland over plans to force pay cuts and reduce workers’ entitlements.

Trade union Mandate has balloted 80 members at Tesco’s Douglas store as a result of the retailer “blatantly ignoring” long standing agreements with the union including the National Replacement Store Agreement.

The store in Douglas is due to move to a new premises on 1 May but Mandate claims that Tesco is not willing to accept all staff members from the old store on their current contracts.

Tesco also plans to cut hours below those negotiated with workers at around 21 stores throughout the country, the union has claimed.

Mandate held a national shop stewards meeting on Tuesday (21 April) in Dublin in order to discuss a union response to several issues affecting staff members across the country.

A strike notice has now been served on the retailer and more than 80 of its members in Tesco in Douglas will go on strike “indefinitely” Wednesday (29 April).

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “The situation in Douglas is a local issue involving disagreement about the transfer of seven Mandate members of staff to our new store in the locality. The new store will create an additional 100 jobs.

“We have referred the matter to the Labour Relations Commission for resolution and therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time. Regarding other issues raised we have invited Mandate to discuss these on a bi lateral basis.”

However, Mandate assistant general secretary, Linda Tanham said Tesco’s behaviour is “an opportunistic attack on workers standards of living” at a time when the company is “more profitable than ever before”.

The union has written to Tesco stating that they are available to meet with the company, but only on condition that the dispute in Douglas is resolved and Tesco recognise existing agreements with Mandate.
Earlier this week, Tesco announced record annual profits of over GBP3.1bn.