The season of strikes

With industrial action set to affect both Cadbury's Coolock plant and the Luas in the near future, Tesco could potentially become the latest company to be affected by strike action



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1 March 2016

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With Cadbury set to face industrial action at its Coolock plant on Thursday and planned Luas strikes continuing to rumble on with no immediate end in sight, Tesco has now become the latest business which could potentially face industrial action in the future.

Mandate trade union has said it will ballot Tesco’s workforce on the possibility of industrial action, if no agreement is reached regarding the retailer’s proposed new contract for nearly 1,000 long-serving staff.

According to Mandate, Tesco wants to implement the new contracts by 18 April. Under this new plan, the affected workers would face a pay cut of more than 16% as well as the loss of guaranteed overtime and a bonus.

Mandate assistant secretary Gerry Light said the union has told Tesco that if it proceeds to introduce the change without agreement, it “would immediately move to defend the interests of our members, which would mean a ballot”.

Tesco has previously defended its proposed new contract, with a spokeswoman stating that “the 1996 contract was agreed at a time when the market and shopping habits were very different”. She said at that time many stores did not open on Sunday or late at night and the 1996 contract was subsequently “inflexible”.

Industrial action at Cadbury’s Coolock plant

Meanwhile strikes are planned at Cadbury’s Coolock plant in Dublin which is owned by Mondelez. Trade unions Siptu and Unite have both served strike notice on the company.

RTE News reports Unite regional coordinating organiser Richie Browne said workers were furious that the company was unilaterally implementing a Labour Court recommendation which had been rejected by union members. The changes include the outsourcing of 17 employees’ work, who are based in the stores operation, which is regarded as a core function.

The strike is due to commence on Thursday at 7am and will entail a full withdrawal of labour until a resolution is reached. Siptu and Unite are understood to represent around 300 of the 900 staff based at the Coolock plant.

Luas dispute continues

What’s more, strike action at the Luas tram service in Dublin shows no signs of reaching a satisfactory resolution soon. Talks planned for last week to try and avert the strikes were actually cancelled before they even began.

The planned strikes of Luas drivers on March 8 and against on St Patrick’s Day are now set to go ahead – and further strike action could likewise be on the cards on future dates. Siptu has also denied claims by Luas management that drivers are using extended toilet breaks to disrupt the service.

Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke has spoken out about the negative impact on Dublin retailers, stating: “At a time when retail businesses are only getting back on their feet after six years of recession, this interruption to transport services has the potential to seriously impact traders in the city centre and along the Luas routes.”



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