Court rejects claim by Tesco workers

Sat, Apr 14, 2012, 01:00

THE LABOUR Court has rejected a claim by 80 Tesco workers that they should receive up to €1,400 each for relocating to a new Tesco supermarket about one mile away in Galway.

In its claim lodged with the court, the Mandate union had sought compensation for the staff in Ballinasloe as “the transferring to the new location has caused disturbances and inconveniences and required increased flexibility and co-operation from employees”.

Mandate told the Labour Court that was it seeking compensation “as a result of the issues associated with the relocation, and contends that the employer has previously paid compensation in situations such as this”. Tesco moved from its previous store on the outskirts of the Co Galway town at Sarsfield Road to a central location at Dunlo in the town centre.

As a gesture of goodwill to staff in relation to the move, Tesco offered a once-off lump sum payment of €1,600 to the staff social fund.

However, this was rejected by Mandate.

Instead, the union sought a payment of up to €1,400 per employee as a means of compensation for transferring to the new store.

The two sides could not agree on the issue and the matter was referred for hearing to the Labour Court.

In its argument put before the Labour Court, the UK retail giant contended “that there was no impact on employees who transferred to the new store”, rejecting the union’s claim for compensation.

Tesco also maintained that “compensation is not paid to employees who transfer to new stores and that the payment offered to the staff social fund was a once-off gesture of goodwill”.

The Labour Court stated that having considered both sides of the argument, it recommended that Tesco should increase its offer to €2,000 to be paid into the social fund.

No other payment by the Labour Court was recommended.

Mandate official John Carthy said yesterday that the cost of their deal would not in fact be €1,400 to each employee, as it would be on a pro-rata basis and part-time employees would receive less.

Mr Carthy said that the claim did not relate to the distance between the two stores, but the inconvenience of the move in relation to changing school runs, car-pooling and the need for staff to familiarise themselves with where products go in the new store.

The union official confirmed that a union committee is to consider the ruling on Monday and make a recommendation to staff as to whether to accept it.

Mr Carthy said that he would not be commenting on the Labour Court ruling before the committee decides what recommendation to make to members.

He said that he would be “very surprised” if Tesco would reject the recommendation as the ruling means the retailer will have to pay an additional €400 over what it had originally offered.