Union set to challenge Tesco fire and reappointment policy in Supreme Court

Shopworkers’ union Usdow has been given the green light by the Supreme Court to challenge Tesco’s controversial tactic of firing staff, then re-hiring them on less favorable contracts.

The union was allowed to proceed with a case after the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling requiring Tesco to sack workers from its warehouses in Daventry and Lichfield and then rehire them at lower wages Was banned from doing.

The Tesco case hinged on a promise of “retained pay”, which workers say was part of a standing agreement struck in 2007, but the supermarket argued that the contracts signed by workers were only in place for life .

Tesco said: “A very small number of colleagues in our UK delivery network receive a supplement to their pay, which was introduced several years ago as an incentive to retain associates.

“Today the majority of our distribution partners do not receive this top-up, and so we made the decision to phase it out. We will continue to work constructively with the small number of affected partners to agree to move forward. “

Union leaders say that instead of attempting to reach an agreement with employees or their union, employers are threatening to terminate employees’ contracts – leaving those workers with the option of leaving their jobs or signing a worse deal. are leaving together.

Neil Todd, a trade union expert at Thompson Solicitors, who is representing the workers, said: “We are delighted to have been given permission by the Supreme Court to proceed with this important matter. The fight against fire and re-admission is an important one for the entire trade union movement.”

With no other option for appeal, a decision of the Supreme Court will be the final word on the matter.

The legal battle comes after UK government ministers rejected a Commons bill last year that would have stopped the fires and reopened work, saying that, while they opposed such actions, the law was the answer. Wrong way to give. The decision prompted anger from opposition parties and unions, with the TUC saying the government “chose with bad bosses”.

The strategy has come under scrutiny in recent years as larger companies have used it to change pay and conditions.

British Gas sacked hundreds of engineers last year because they refused to accept pay cuts and longer, more anti-social, hours. Others accepted the jobs on new terms.

Hundreds of bus drivers at Go North West, pilots at British Airways, and caterers and cleaners working at Ministry of Defense sites for the ESS, part of the multinational Compass Group, also fought against the tactic.

The government has argued that companies in severe financial difficulty should have the option of offering new jobs to employees if the option closes. However, an Observer analysis found that only about 70% of firms engaging in the practice were making a profit.

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