Tesco have claimed that two more of their stores, Sligo and Ballina, have called off strike action on Valentine’s Day.
In a statement, it said: “Tesco Ireland welcomes the decision our staff in two more stores to defy Mandate’s call for strike".However Sligo Today can reveal that workers in Sligo are to strike....in Longford.
An administrative error in the Sligo strike ballot saw the result declared null and void. The 'pre '96' contract workers who already voted in a separate ballot in favour of industrial action, were mistakenly included in the Sligo and Ballina ballot causing the results to be rejected.
Another ballot is due to take place later this week in the two outlets.Meanwhile those pre-'96 Sligo workers will board a hired bus this morning and join their striking colleagues picketing outside the Longford branch in a show of defiance and solidarity.
Workers who joined the company prior to 1996 are at the centre of the dispute. While 700 such employees left last year under a redundancy programme, the proposed contract changes will still impact on 250 staff who could see their incomes reduced by up to 15 per cent, according to the union.
Mandate, the union that represents the bulk of the workers, stressed the deferral should not be taken as a shift in support among workers in the two shops towards the position adopted by management.Mandate Assistant General Secretary,Gerry Light, said: “The situation in these two stores is that staff are going to be re-balloted in the coming days due to a technical error made in the original ballot.
“As a result of this error, it would not be legal for staff in Sligo and Ballina to take part in the strike and this is the only reason why strike action will not be proceeding in those two stores at this point in time. Mandate are now making plans to re-ballot these two stores as soon as possible,
Mandate has said they wrote to Tesco last week seeking a resolution of the issue. The union claims that some of its members could see their incomes reduced by up to 20 per cent if proposed contract changes were introduced.
With Sligo and Ballina workers forced to withdraw from picketing their branches the stores affected today include three stores in Dublin; Baggot Street Lower, Ballyfermot Road and Clearwater, as well as Vevay Road in Bray, Deanscurragh Co Longford, Navan Town Centre, Manor West Retail Park in Tralee and Tullamore Retail Park in Co Offaly.
More branches are expected to join the strike on Friday.