tesco china warehouse distribution centre

Source: Tesco

The judgment applies only to Tesco’s Livingston site

Tesco has said it will challenge a court’s decision after union bosses won a case against its so-called “fire and rehire” tactics.

Usdaw won an interdict in the Court of Session in Edinburgh stopping Tesco moving some staff at its Livingston distribution centre on to a new contract, which it said would result in them losing between £4,000 and £19,000 per year.

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

Usdaw said it would continue to fight the case for workers in Litchfield, Daventry and Avonmouth Tesco distribution centres, which were also affected by the policy.

“We are very pleased to have secured this victory for our members,” said Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuinness. “They faced a huge cut in wages after Tesco moved to renege on a long-standing collective agreement made in good faith. It is a major victory in the fight against ‘fire and rehire’ tactics, which are now being used by too many businesses.

“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 long-standing staff, who have worked throughout the pandemic to keep stores stocked with the essential items we all rely on.”

“We are surprised by the court’s decision and we are looking at how we can legally challenge this,” said a Tesco spokesman.

“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. Today we have over 16,000 colleagues working in distribution, the vast majority of whom do not receive this top-up, so we have taken the decision 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.”