Employee Relations

Usdaw blocks Tesco ‘fire and rehire’ at Livingston distribution centre

The judgement, which applies to the Livingston site only, means that Tesco are legally prohibited from ‘unilaterally withdrawing’ entitlement to retained pay and/or terminating the contract in order to re-engage the worker on new terms which do not include retained pay

Usdaw has announced it has won an interdict in the Court of Session in Edinburgh against Tesco forcing some of the staff at the Livingston distribution centre onto a new contract, which would result in the affected staff losing between £4,000 and £19,000 per year.

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

The “fire and rehire” proposal reportedly also affects workers in Litchfield, Daventry clothing and Avonmouth Tesco distribution centres with the Union suggesting it will continue to fight for the same result for its members at these sites.

Joanne McGuinness, national officer, Usdaw expressed that it was a “major victory” in the fight against ‘fire and rehire’ tactics.

She said: “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 longstanding staff, who have worked throughout the pandemic to keep stores stocked with the essential items we all rely on.”

A spokesperson for Tesco told HR Wire that the group was “surprised” by the court’s decision and that they are now looking at how they can “legally challenge” it.

They said: “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.

They added: “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.”

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