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Tesco depot staff in Northern Ireland suspend Christmas strikes, union says

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(Stock photo) Nick Ansell/PA Wire

(Stock photo) Nick Ansell/PA Wire

PA

(Stock photo) Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Tesco workers threatening seasonal strike action at its distribution centres will be asked to vote on an improved minimum 5.5% pay offer negotiated by union leaders.

Workers at centres in England and Northern Ireland, including Antrim and Belfast, have threatened a series of strikes before and after Christmas.

But following fresh talks with the Unite union, the company today offered an improved pay deal and other benefits, according to the union.

Unite union members will be asked to vote on a deal that offers a minimum of a 5.5 per cent increase backdated to July 2021, the anniversary date for annual pay increases, and an additional 0.5 per cent from February 2022.

In addition, Unite has secured an agreement with Tesco for a formal dialogue on revising the current system of legacy and new generation contracts, the union said, adding this will to a single pay scale.

Further, workers in Belfast were offered an increase in holiday entitlement of one bank holiday and one standard holiday.

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Members of the shop workers union USDAW employed at the same distribution centres have also voted for strike action but are not covered by the deal. Separate negotiations are expected to take place later this week.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Tesco’s improved offer shows what can be achieved by our members standing together. Given that the company has forecast profits for 2021 topping £2.5 billion an improved offer is the least Tesco workers could expect".

“Unite is the union which always puts the jobs, pay and conditions of its members first and in doing so it is consistently securing improved pay deals for its members.

Unite will ballot its members and recommend acceptance. If rejected fresh strike action will be announced but that is unlikely to be before January 2022, Unite said.

Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “Right from the beginning of this dispute Unite has been clear that Tesco could afford to make a more generous offer and that has proved to be the case.

“It is now up to Unite’s members to decide if the proposed deal meets their expectations.”


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