Tesco Mandate Deal Is Bad For Workers

Currently the Mandate trade union is balloting its members in Tesco on a deal that will see a deterioration in pay and conditions if passed. Earlier in the year Mandate and Tesco management entered talks on pay and conditions. This was the first time in over 5 years that both sides met face to face to negotiate. The talks were claimed by the union as a major breakthrough. When details of the talk’s agenda were reported to the members, the impact was quite the opposite.

The no-consultation way to end premium payments for Tesco
Agreement was reached by two sides on the elimination of premium payments for all Customer Assistants and Home Delivery Drivers. But the people on average wages who work on won the premium payments weren’t consulted. Ask the workers what they want. They say these hard won premium payments for Sundays and public holidays should be increased too, by at least 11%- not eliminated! 

But Mandate did not consult its members in advance to ascertain if such a strategy had support. Premium payments were hard fought for in the past to ensure that workers would be adequately compensated for working unsocial hours and on Sundays and Public Holidays. For that reason alone, the deal should be rejected.

No premium, worse pension… and all we get is 11%
So, what did Mandate achieve as compensation? The headline figure pushed by the union is an 11% pay increase as a new consolidated pay rate. While 11% seems a big increase it is however an increase on what are low pay rates. Currently staff with 3 years’ service or more have an hourly rate of €13.49 per hour. This will increase to €14.98 if the deal is accepted. An increase of just €1.49 in the hourly rate.

All hours worked before 8am are currently paid the premium rate. Such staff begin their shifts at either 4am or 5am. If the new rates are applied these staff members will actually lose money. The majority of checkout staff begin their shifts after 8am but they work on average 3 Sundays out of every 4. Under the proposed new regime, they will see an increase in their gross weekly pay of €5. Not a very good deal, in fact it’s a rotten deal.

One other component of the agreement is being strongly pushed by Tesco management. That is the launch of a new pension plan. This plan is a Defined Contribution scheme which is planned to be introduced in March 2022. It will replace the current Defined Benefit scheme which will at the same time close to new members. This will result in much reduced pension payments on retirement.

Vote no and get talking: get better deal
All in all, a very shoddy deal. The word on the ground amongst Mandate members is that there is nothing in the deal to support. So, these issues will be thrashed out in union meetings prior to the ballot? Wrong, there will be no such meetings. Ballots will be held in Tesco stores during the work shifts. Full time Mandate officials will be present with the ballot papers recommending a “yes” vote. In this they will have the full support of Tesco management.

This is a very bad deal agreed between Mandate and Tesco management without the support of the members. It will see a worsening of pay and conditions as well as an abandoning of premium rates for working unsocial hours and Sundays and Public Holidays. It must be rejected by the workers.

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