The staff began their indefinite strike on Tuesday morning in protest at what their trade union Mandate says is a concerted attempt by Tesco management to cut workers' terms and conditions. While Tesco says that it wants to change the contracts of some 250 staff hired pre-1996, changes which the retailer claims will result in increased pay for many, Mandate believe that it is part of a long-term plan by firm to attack worker's conditions and decrease the influence of unions.
Speaking yesterday (Thursday), Mandate official David Miskell says that it is highly likely that the strike will enter a second week. While the Tesco store remains open, there has reportedly been a significant drop in trade since the start of the strike with only a small number of people crossing the picket line.
“We reiterated yesterday (Wednesday) that if Tesco makes a commitment to discussions we are a amenable to a resolution, but it's very obvious that they want to change people's contracts without agreement from staff.”
Mr Miskell aslo said that despite the “hardship” and loss of earnings, strikers in Tullamore are determined to remain out on the picket line until a satisfactory agreement has been reached with management.
“Spirits are very good. Clearly it a hardship for people and a very difficult position to be in. Tesco made €200m worth of profits last year and these workers have to endure such hardship. We are prepared to fight because we can't countenance the other option.
“At this point in time we can't see a resoltuion but we have called for discussions and have said that we are available but there has been no response.
The Mandate official added that his members are grateful for the “phenomonal support” they have recieved from the public.”
“ We are here for the long haul and are not going away until it is resolved,” Mr Miskell concluded.