Mandate Trade Union have confirmed members in Tesco Carrick-on-Shannon will be joining their Tesco Sligo colleagues on strike this week.
The Sligo workers have already been on strike for two days (Thursday, December 6 & Friday, December 14) and will continue their dispute tomorrow tomorrow, Friday, December 21.
On Saturday, December 22, the Carrick-on-Shannon store will join the Sligo strikers and will participate in their first full day of industrial action.
Mandate Trade Union is calling on the company to abide by all collective agreements, including adherence to grievance procedures in order to prevent any further damage to the business and to ensure customers are no longer inconvenienced.
John Douglas, Mandate General Secretary said, "It is unfortunate that our members are forced to strike yet again due to Tesco’s continued refusal to engage with their workers’ union and follow collective grievance procedures.
"Our members don’t want to be on strike, but it seems the company is happy to prolong this totally uneccessary strike for their own reasons. We hope the public will understand the necessity for our members to defend their interests and put the blame firmly where it belongs, with Tesco management.”
Mr Douglas said Mandate members are very sorry for any inconvenience to the public in the run up to Christmas.
Both disputes relate to the company refusing to engage with Mandate Trade Union on collective grievances. Mandate’s local representative wrote to the company on more than 10 occasions, all of which were ignored.
Mr Douglas concluded, "When a major multinational and highly profitable retailer is constantly undermining your working conditions and your right to be represented by your trade union, you are not left with many options. You can either roll over and take it, or you can fight back and I commend the Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon workers for choosing to fight back.”
In reply Tesco have issued the following statement: "We are extremely disappointed that Mandate is proceeding yet again with strike action at our Sligo store tomorrow and our Sligo and Carrick-on-Shannon stores on Saturday. 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. Despite the strikes, our stores will remain open tomorrow and Saturday and we thank our colleagues and our 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.
"Mandate should revisit too its decision to refuse to take up the offer from the WRC for a conciliation conference on Sligo which was originally scheduled for October 24th. 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."