Some 300 butchers employed by Tesco Ireland are currently voting on a voluntary redundancy deal.
Negotiations on new work practices for meat counter staff are understood also to be under way at Dunnes Stores, while a third multiple, Superquinn, was hit by a strike last year when it insisted on greater flexibility from its 130 butchers in return for improved pay.
The traditional role of supermarket butchers has been seriously diminished by the increased popularity of pre-packaged meat, and this has offered multiples the opportunity to deploy some of the staff involved to other duties.
Butchers who opt to leave are being offered a redundancy package of five weeks' pay, including statutory entitlements. There will be no enforced job cuts, with those who decide to remain being offered new jobs.
Brendan Carr, of Siptu union, said: "Tesco wants to do away with the distinction between butchers and bacon hands, and amalgamate the two jobs."

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