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Tesco home delivery workers to lose higher pay rate over roster change

The grocery giant is reducing its delivery window for orders, meaning employees will no longer work during ‘unsociable’ hours.

TESCO HOME DELIVERY WORKERS are set to have their rostered hours changed to no longer include ‘unsociable’ times, losing a higher rate of pay as a result.

The grocery giant is reducing its home order delivery window from 8am-10pm down to 10am-8pm in a move that it claims “reflects the feedback received from our driver colleagues”.

However, the change has caused some discontent because it means workers will no longer receive the time-and-a-half pay rate for working during unsociable hours.

Roster changes will affect home deliver workers and ‘dot com pickers’ who fulfil online orders.

In a statement to The Journal, a Tesco Ireland spokesperson said the change will allow  it to “offer increased delivery availability for customers at the times we normally experience the greatest demand for slots”.

“There is no cut to driver hours, rather their hours will change to match the customer delivery hours improving the attractiveness of these important roles, which is in line with their employment contract,” the spokesperson said.

This change will mean that drivers will spend less time caught in peak morning commuter traffic, finishing their shift at an earlier time in the evening and more time delivering to more of our customers.

“In trials, the change has been positively received and reflects the feedback received from our driver colleagues. We are supporting our colleagues through the change.”

But one worker who spoke to The Journal said that the affected employees feel the move is “incredibly unfair given the support and loyalty that colleagues have shown the company throughout the Covid pandemic”.

“Not only did we put our own health at risk but our close family and friends and anyone else associated, so we feel we have no further option than to highlight our grave concerns.”

The worker said they want to have a “fair and transparent work-life balance” and to be treated fairly by Tesco.

Mandate, the trade union that represents Tesco workers, said that the sudden roster changes are unfair to workers.

The union understands that Tesco has offered a once-off compensation payment and a new consolidated pay scale to the affected workers.

However, Assistant General Secretary Jonathan Hogan said that despite the compensation, the new rostering arrangements will result in “massive ongoing annual net losses for current workers”.

One worker in Dublin told the union that her potential loss of earnings over the year could amount to thousands of euros, Hogan said.

Speaking to The Journal, Hogan said that “even before the world started considering the introduction of a vaccine, our members were out there in the grocery sector continually serving the needs of customers”.

“That’s one of the really difficult things about this development is that as we emerge from the pandemic, the first people now that are going to suffer a loss of earnings are retail workers that brought us and Tesco through the pandemic,” he said.

“We’re not talking about people on huge earning levels. Most of these people are on very modest pay rates, any anything from €12.12 an hour, up to about €14.87. Some of them [on older rates] would be higher than that but by and large, they’d be on €14.87.

“The company are offering the consolidated rate, a higher rate, which would bring the top point of the new pay scale up to 15.25, but it still won’t cover the loss of earnings,” he said.

Hogan said that the union learned about the development through members rather than from Tesco directly.

In a statement, he raised the matter of “work-life balance issues” in addition to the financial consequences.

“Over recent years, Tesco Ireland has stepped away from its previous constructive approach to industrial relations and this latest move is, unfortunately, in line with that new approach,” he said.

“No attempt has been made by the company to engage with Mandate Trade Union directly or to ensure that our impacted members are appropriately protected in relation to their overall earning levels.

“Tesco Ireland needs to do much more for these staff than once-off compensation payments and consolidated pay rates which are clearly not enough to protect their current income levels. Instead, they need to engage with their staff’s union representatives and sort the issues out through constructive dialogue.”

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Lauren Boland and Tadgh McNally
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