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Tesco told to offer higher compensation to Dublin and Cavan workers who got no paid breaks

The company is under pressure to make higher back payments to staff who went without paid breaks.

Image: Shutterstock/Chris Warham

THE LABOUR COURT has recommended that Tesco Ireland compensate staff at two of its outlets who were given no paid breaks for a number of years.

Trade union Mandate brought the case to court after the company offered 15 months’ worth of back payments to affected sales assistants at stores in Bailieborough, Co Cavan, and Tallaght, Co Dublin.

The union argued that Tesco should provide full compensation for loss of earnings accrued over periods of employment.

Staff at the Bailieborough store, which opened in 2008, were told that employees at new or country shops were not entitled to payment for their 15-minute breaks.

Tesco rowed back on this position in May 2013 and offered the workers compensation covering 15 months of 15-minute breaks. The proposal was rejected by Mandate members, who sought full retrospection in line with the length of their service.

Tesco employees in Tallaght also failed to receive the paid breaks they were entitled to under company guidelines after working four and a half hours.

While the issue was brought to the attention of management there in January 2014, the workers did not receive their paid breaks until September of that year, months after the matter was first raised.

Delay

The same issue was resolved at four other Tesco stores, where union members agreed to accept a 15-month compensatory payment for loss of income.

However, workers at Bailieborough and Tallaght objected to the proposal in a ballot vote, calling instead for compensation to retrospectively cover all unpaid breaks.

In a recent judgement, the Labour Court recommended that the terms of a proposal previously accepted by staff in Drogheda, Monaghan and Artane be applied and accepted as part of a resolution to the dispute.

The deal provides that the compensation due to each worker be calculated based on their individual attendance over a period of 15 months, as was proposed by Tesco for these other stores.

However, the court also recommended that the company make an additional payment covering three months’ worth of breaks to employees at its Bailieborough and Tallaght outlets.

Labour Court recommendations are not binding, but the parties concerned are expected to give them serious consideration.

Tesco said in a statement that it was reviewing the judgement, while Mandate said the matter was being put out for ballot.

Read: Inside Ireland’s best workplaces, according to the people who work there

Read: Chef who was paid just 51c an hour will finally get the wages he was owed

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Catherine Healy

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