This afternoon I met up again with Tesco workers in Greystones. What’s happening here to long serving employees is not remotely okay. It is imperative that Tesco re-enter talks immediately, and that no changes are made to anyone’s contracts with agreement on all sides – which is what the workers stated repeatedly.
What’s particularly striking is that all affected workers I’ve spoken with over the past two weeks say that they’ve loved working for Tesco, that they’ve been very proud to be part of Tesco’s success in Ireland – people who feel like that don’t go out on strike lightly.
The people I met explained that things started to change about two years ago. And most recently, and the cause of why they are striking – their conditions were changed unilaterally, without agreement. They believe there’s a concerted effort to squeeze union activity, with reports of bullying and coercion. They stated that Mandate is looking to enter talks – the industrial relations mechanisms are there, and they should have been used, and should still be used.
Everyone needs security in their jobs. Eroding working conditions, moving to shorter working weeks, it all serves to leave people vulnerable and destabilise community.
Regarding the other businesses in the Tesco retail parks in Bray and Greystones, the five Wicklow / East Carlow TDs have sent a joint request, today, to Tesco management, to allow strikers mount pickets on the stores, so as to avoid commercial loss to the others shops in the shopping centres – a call supported by the Tesco workers.