Nolan hits out at Tesco in workers' contracts dispute

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Carol Nolan has come out in support of striking Tesco staff

Sinn Féin TD has come out in support of the striking staff

Sinn Féin TD for Offaly and North Tipperary, Carol Nolan, has said her party fully supports Mandate in its industrial action against Tesco, saying that the race to the bottom must be challenged. Deputy Nolan was speaking as she met with workers on the picket in the Tullamore store yesterday.

Nolan said: “The issue of pay and conditions is one that is best worked out between unions and management. Tesco, however, have decided to disregard normal industrial relations procedures and engage in unilateral action that is meant to antagonise and disrupt standard and agreed resolution procedures."

“The company is attempting to force changes to contracts of employment without agreement. The new contracts would result in some workers experiencing reduced incomes of up to 15 percent along with increased use of undecided hours. Some people who have worked for Tesco Ireland for up to 21 years are now being told to accept imposed changes to their contracts or get out the door," she continued.

“10% of Tesco staff are already so low paid the State has to top up their incomes with supplementary social welfare. The company makes more profits than any other retailer in Ireland and has committed to paying a dividend to shareholders this year. And now the company are trying to drive down wages and conditions of employment for their longest serving staff – with the State stepping in to subsidise these low wages with welfare payments.

“We need to tackle the race to the bottom. The State cannot continue to allow companies to slash wages to increase profits when those wage cuts end up as an expense for the State," Nolan insisted.

“Tesco spent €68,000 on two pages of ads in the Irish Times in an attempt to undermine the strike. It would have been better if they tried to resolve it. Sinn Féin stands with Tesco workers and their union, Mandate, in opposing such unilateral and unacceptable behaviour.”

The Sinn Féin deputy's comments come after staff at eight Tesco stores around the country took to the picket lines yesterday in response to the supermarket chain wanting to move 250 staff who were recruited before 1996 onto less favourable contracts in line with their newer employees. Mandate insists that this change would hit workers in terms of both pay and conditions, with cuts of up to 15%.