finance

Union blocks Tesco ‘fire and rehire’ tactic



Retail trade union Usdaw has won an interdict in the Court of Session in Edinburgh against Tesco, forcing some of the staff at the Livingston distribution centre onto a new contract, which would result in the affected staff losing between £4,000 and £19,000 per year.

The judgement, which applies to the Livingston site only, means that Tesco are legally prohibited from unilaterally withdrawing entitlement to retained pay and/or terminating the contract in order to re-engage the worker on new terms which do not include retained pay.

The ‘fire and rehire’ proposal also affects workers in Litchfield, Daventry clothing and Avonmouth Tesco distribution centres, with Usdaw stating it will continue to fight for same result for its members at these sites.

Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuinness said: “We are very pleased to have secured this victory for our members who faced a huge cut in wages after Tesco moved to renege on a longstanding collective agreement made in good faith.

“The court delivered a temporary prohibition and we are now calling on the company to honour the judgment and withdraw its plans at all sites – we stand ready to seek a permanent interdict for Livingston and a High Court injunction for the other sites to defend this unfair pay cut for hundreds of key workers.

“Tesco can stop this now, by doing the right thing and withdrawing their threat to these longstanding staff, who have worked throughout the pandemic to keep stores stocked with the essential items we all rely on.”

A Tesco spokesperson said they were surprised by the court’s decision and are looking at how to legally challenge it.

“We will continue to engage with Usdaw and the very small number of colleagues at our Livingston distribution centre who are affected by this.

“Retained pay was offered a number of years ago as an incentive to retain colleagues,” they explained.

The company has more than 16,000 colleagues working in distribution, with the majority not receiving this top up, so the decision was taken to phase it out.

“We made a fair offer to those colleagues affected, and many of our colleagues have chosen to accept this – this decision does not affect the voluntary process.”



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