Tesco – every billion helps!

By Councillor Mick Murphy

EMPLOYERS AND the government are using the economic crisis to push through cuts in workers wages and working conditions.

Senior managers in modern industry, many of whom have MBAs, are well versed in managing during a crisis and lately their training is being put to good use in so far as they are taught to never waste a good crisis. In almost every company the top brass have taken their cue from the downturn and are attacking any and all conditions.

A recent and stark example of what companies are trying to do happened at Tesco in Douglas, Cork. Tesco is a giant multinational. Last year it made nearly €3.5 billion in profits. Tesco’s profits are greater than the GDP of 33 countries! Yet in Cork, Tesco management told 18 of its staff that they had to either give up their old terms and conditions which stem from their days working for Quinnsworth, or lose their jobs. Tesco has 12,000 employees in Ireland and if they get away with lowering the pay and conditions of these 18 workers then the rest of the staff will be next.

Dell a hugely profitable multinational is making 1,900 workers redundant to shift their manufacturing operation to Poland for a cost saving of a mere 3%. The human cost in Limerick and the surrounding area is immeasurable.

Luftansa Technik Airmotive workers in Dublin were threatened with closure if they didn’t accept a reduction in their shift premium from 20% to 12.5%. And at SR Technics 1,250 jobs are being lost at a company with work contracts that are full for the next three years!

There are literally thousands of other examples that workers could give from all sectors of the economy of their employers trying to impose detrimental changes to pay and conditions that are simply about maintaining or increasing company profits. The union leaders should not only challenge the employers’ arguments and lies but should be organising to protect wages, conditions and jobs.