Tesco to challenge court’s ban on “fire and rehire” strategy

Tesco Usdaw Livingston distribution centre
Usdaw said it would continue to fight the case for workers in Litchfield, Daventry and Avonmouth Tesco distribution centres
// Tesco opposes court’s decision to prohibit its “fire and rehire” approach
// Usdaw won an interdict in the Court of Session in Edinburgh banning Tesco from moving some staff at its Livingston distribution centre on to a new contract
// 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

Tesco is planning to challenge a court’s decision after union bosses won a case against its “fire and rehire” strategy.

Usdaw won an interdict in the Court of Session in Edinburgh banning Tesco from moving some staff at its Livingston distribution centre on to a new contract.

This would result in them losing between £4000 and £19,000 per year.


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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,” Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuinness said.

“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.”

Tesco said it is “surprised” by the court’s decision and is looking at how it can legally challenge this.

It will continue to engage with Usdaw and the very small number of colleagues at its Livingston distribution centre who have been affected.

“Retained pay was offered a number of years ago as an incentive to retain colleagues,” Tesco said.

“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.”

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