Tesco rejects claims it aims to cut 1,200 employees in Ireland

Company says 280 people will be affected by new terms and conditions

Tesco is Ireland’s largest private employer, with 14,500 workers. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

Tesco is Ireland’s largest private employer, with 14,500 workers. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

 

Tesco has rejected claims made by an independent TD in the Dáil that it intends to get rid of 1,200 jobs in Ireland.

A spokeswoman for the supermarket giant said on Friday there would be “no job losses”, but said there was an option to take voluntary redundancy.

Independents4Change TD Joan Collins had said on Thursday in the Dáil that Tesco had decided to bypass its workers’ union Mandate and unilaterally impose a pay cut of more than 15 per cent “in addition to an attack on terms and conditions for the company’s longest-serving workers”.

She claimed the supermarket was engaging in “union-busting activities” as part of a broader plan called “Project Black” to get rid of 1,200 long-serving secure and well-paid workers.

Ms Collins said the firm aimed to “bully its workers, trying to turn them against one another and disciplining those who speak out” which was unnecessary because “Tesco is no pauper”.

However, in response, a Tesco spokeswoman said the “1,200 figure is absolutely incorrect”.

She said about 280 of their 14,500 workforce were affected under the proposed new terms and conditions recommended by the Labour Court.

She said the company offered the best pay and benefits in the sector, and was the only grocery retailer that recognised trade unions in Ireland. She also said the rate of pay would not change.

“Tesco has accepted the Labour Court recommendation which endorsed a detailed proposal from the WRC that set out a fair resolution and was also accepted by Tesco,” she said. “The Labour Court recommendation is at the upper end of affordability, but in the spirit of reaching agreement and re-positioning our business in the challenging retail market, Tesco accepted it.”

Mandate assistant general secretary Gerry Light said the union’s member had rejected the Labour Court’s recommendation. “We’re here to negotiate an agreed settlement,” he said.