Tesco Ireland is seeking to move 1,000 staff to new contracts, resulting in significant pay cuts.
The supermarket met staff this week to tell them it was moving close to 1,000 long-standing employees on contracts signed before 1996 onto new contracts agreed with unions in 2006.
The trade union representing staff, Mandate, said the changes would see a cut of 16.5% or €2.35 (£1.80) per hour for workers earning €14.31 (£10.90) per hour, equating to a minimum of €6,500 (£5000) annually.
Workers on pre-1996 contracts are also guaranteed overtime and a guaranteed share bonus scheme whereas those on the modern contracts are not.
Tesco aims to implement the changes by mid-April and will compensate staff for loss of earnings. The amount has yet to be negotiated.
Mandate’s assistant general secretary Gerry Light said: “Tesco’s antics led to shock for all of the staff concerned but that shock has quickly turned to anger and now determination as the workers say they will resist any changes that are pushed through without negotiations and ultimately agreed with the workers concerned.”
He added: “The mischievous attempt to attribute these cuts to ‘customer services’ has gained no traction with anyone. This is quite simply a case of Tesco attempting to increase their profits for the parent company at the expense of their most loyal and long-standing members of staff. If the parent company needs to make savings, they should start at the top of the food chain instead of targeting their loyal workers who are already classified as low paid in relative terms.”
A Tesco spokeswoman told Drapers: ”Our customer shopping habits are changing; more customers are shopping online, at weekends and at different times of the day and our customer service needs to be able to meet these needs. Our pre-1996 contract doesn’t meet the needs of today’s customers and was agreed 20 years ago at a time when stores didn’t open Sundays or late nights. As a result we have too many colleagues rostered during our quietest days instead of our busiest; and guaranteed overtime which doesn’t take account of the needs of each store or give colleagues an equal opportunity to work overtime when it arises.
”To unlock this inflexibility in our business so that we can reinvest our resources in having more colleagues on the shop floor at our busiest times, we propose to move all pre-1996 colleagues onto our modern contract which was agreed in 2006 with the Trade Unions as part of our collective agreement.”