Almost 90% of Tesco staff at the Carrick-on-Shannon store are on strike and picketing today, Saturday, December 22.
Staff started the picket at 6am today and are taking it in shifts to have their voices heard until 12 midnight tonight.
Staff members told the Leitrim Observer that "this is the last thing we want to be doing today, this was our last and only resort." Members of the public have brought them coffee, sweets and treats to show their support.
The Mandate Union members cannot picket directly infront of the store so they are dispersed, with some handing leaflets out at the Dublin roundabout, and groups at the corner of woodies and others at the corner of Q2 beside the laundry machines close to Tesco.
Staff are requesting that no one crosses the picket and while in general most people are respecting the strike, there are a few dashing into Tesco to get their last bits for Christmas.
David Gibney, Mandate Communications told the paper that some part time staff were "bullied" into working with threats of hours being cut in 2019. He said they understood 47 Tesco staff from Head Quarters are working in the store today.
"This is the first ever strike at Tesco, Carrick-on-Shannon" he commented and he added, "this can be resolved to day if Tesco would just sit down and talk with us."
Mr Gibney also noted that if Tesco, the biggest private sector employer in Ireland can get away with not dealing with Trade Unions, other will follow. "This cannot be allowed to happen, the staff here are fighting for the rights of every Irish employee."
Tesco stated to the Leitrim Observer they were “extremely disappointed” that the Mandate strike proceeded at Carrick-on-Shannon today. “This series of one-day strikes is entirely out of proportion as these are local disputes involving local issues that don’t warrant such disruption in Christmas week.” The store thanked their colleagues and customers for their co-operation.
"We regret this action by Mandate and the disruption inflicted on our colleagues, our customers and to other businesses in the two towns by these unjustified strikes. It is particularly disappointing action by Mandate for these close-to-the-Border towns in the run up to Christmas.”
"We reject Mandate’s claims that the union is left with no option but to have strikes in Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon or that it is Tesco’s failure to follow and implement agreed collective procedures. It is in fact the complete opposite, we remain committed to the State’s industrial relations machinery as we were before when we accepted a Labour Court recommendation that continues to remain rejected by Mandate. Unlike the union, we continue to respect the Industrial Relations processes and remain committed to them.
"Tesco remains committed to resolving this dispute. We request that Mandate, even at this late stage, desist from the industrial action and refer these issues back to the WRC where we are willing to engage with the union. Mandate should return to the agreed norms in industrial relations as is provided for in our current agreement and call off this unnecessary and damaging action.
"In Carrick-on-Shannon the local issues have not yet even been referred back to the WRC by Mandate indicating these strikes are pre-emptive.
"It is unfathomable that Mandate is taking this approach when Tesco fully respects our colleagues’ right to choose to be represented by a trade union, unlike many other retail stores and businesses this Christmas who do not recognise or engage with Mandate."