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Mayday From Tesco in Douglas, Cork. 'If You Tolerate This . . . Who'll Be Next?'

category cork | worker & community struggles and protests | feature author Friday May 01, 2009 08:06author by John B - Cork Mayday Collective Report this post to the editors

This morning (29 April) in Cork workers from the Douglas, Cork branch of Tescos went out on strike in defence of their jobs.

featured image
Everyday Politics

Tescos are just putting the finishing touches to a shiny new store complete with multi storey carpark that puts another nail in the coffin of any character that the centre of Douglas had left. (Two shopping centres, A Topaz garage, lots of carparking space , a McDonald’s…. you get the picture. There is a nice Farmer’s market in the park on Saturday though). Anyway, that aside, Tesco is trying to lay off all it’s workers and then rehire them under tighter contracts. The first lay offs are meant to begin tomorrow (30th April). The workers, supported by Mandate, their union, are out on strike until this is sorted out.

I went along to support them (Apr 29th) because I think Tesco is a huge monster seeking an inordinate amount of control over our lives including the foodchain and the economy and they need to be stopped. Any action that breaks the routine of the working day is to be applauded, especially if the aim is to improve one’s lot and that of others. Make no mistake - the struggle of these workers is the struggle of us all because in these recessionary times - any chance that capitalism gets to take up the slack and tighten the rope on us - it will take.

I was struck by the restrictions apparently placed on the picket. The workers I spoke to said that their picket had to remain within a defined area in the shopping centre and that they were not allowed to show their banners elsewhere in the centre. There was a security guard present at all times keeping an eye on things when I was there though he was pleasant enough. I hope that these folks see through these arbitrary conditions being placed on them and start making up their own rules.
I also spoke to the butcher across from Tescos in the centre. He was broadly supportive of the workers but worried for his own business. He said that his custom had been very low that morning on account of the strike. This kind of thing could turn folk against the strikers so perhaps rather than just boycotting Tescos and going to Dunnes instead people need to actively support small local businesses. The shopping might take longer but it'll be more personal, also think about how everyone benefits because money going to small local businesses tends to remain in the community. Unlike some other businesses I could mention.
We should all get out and support these folks and use the window that they have helped open to build links across trades, professions and movements. The recession may be a scary one if you have a mortgage and three kids to support and you don’t know your neighbours but it is also a chance to break down the walls that capitalism puts between us and create a more compassionate, cooperative society where we can define our own futures…..

Boycott Tescos and all multinationals
Support local businesses, food producers and manufacturers
Grow your own community
Grow your own food

Enough said!
Enough said!

Workers picketing
Workers picketing

One for Shell to Sea
One for Shell to Sea

Family solidarity
Family solidarity

author by John Bpublication date Wed Apr 29, 2009 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

www.mandate.ie
www.tescopoly.org

author by bunnahowen 1publication date Wed Apr 29, 2009 18:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tesco made profits of, £3.1 billion in the last tax year. http://www.tescoplc.com/plc/media/pr/pr2009/2009-04-21/ . But that is not enough for this company. They want to force the workers at Douglas Cork Tesco to accept reduced terms in new contracts. sounds different to what they say on there website. http://www.tescoplc.com/plc/corporate_responsibility/go...jobs/ . Support the Tesco workers in there struggle to enjoy a sustainable standard of living. If we stand idly by then it will be us who are next to feel the cutting blade of corporate greed.

good to see the young ones fighting for their rights
good to see the young ones fighting for their rights

supportive voice
supportive voice

determined
determined

blue day for tesco
blue day for tesco

redundant trollies
redundant trollies

author by LC97publication date Fri May 01, 2009 08:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

May 1, 1909. Police kill thirty workers in a South American city. The workers are gunned down and violently beaten during a protest to demand an eight hour work day and remember the Hay Market Martyrs. Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, was the scene of this massacre targeting the anarchist-labor movement which proliferated throughout the region through the beginning of the 20th century.

Rest of the story at the link.

A Dead Anarchist
A Dead Anarchist


Argentina: Workers Rally to Keep Occupied Factory (2:32)

Related Link: http://www.zcommunications.org/zspace/commentaries/3850
author by Tompublication date Mon May 04, 2009 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am old enough to remember when things were bad before in the country (when Haughey was having his silk shirts flown in from Paris, what party was he leader of, of yes the Fianna Failers) and Tesco closed up shop and left the country. Sort of circle the wagons at home in the UK.

They came back but have no fear they will pull out again at the drop of a hat, look at Dell !

I don't shop at Tesco because of what they did in the past and show how they can easily do it again. Stand up to them, walk away, there is no room for imported dictators in Ireland we have enough of our own smug bas***** in Government who have shown that they are worse than Tesco.

Related Link: http://www.jobs2ireland.ie/irish-jobs.php
author by tom in new york...publication date Tue Jun 02, 2009 20:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its very simple ...Buy Irish and boycott Tesco. If the people of Ireland would observe those two simple ideas Ireland and indeed the Irish consumer would be much better off.

author by servalan - Terran Federation Nemesis of Blake 7's Avon.publication date Wed Jun 03, 2009 14:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you put the largest North American supermarket chain's workforce together with Europe's largest and then the world's second largest (Tesco) you have more workers on or near minimum wage than are employed by the two largest labour / labor options on this planet : to wit the US military industrial machine and the North Korean army.

It's not so easy for people in Ireland "to buy Irish" as the last commentator suggested perhaps being more influenced by that recurrent American slogan in times of recession "buy US", for the simple reason that we are not self-sufficient in either food or domestic cleaning products nor even clothes pegs, tampons, razor blades, condoms, nappies (diepers), kiwifruit, lager, tobacco, coffee, tea, beans with or without tomato sauce, textured soya protein for the vegans, rabbits with no eyes thanks to terminal myxomatosis suitable for ex-vegans nor the now near banished plastic carrier bag.

Indeed our stockpiles of the most ubiqitous four wheeled vehicle on Earth, the supermarket trolly would probably go wonky within a year & we would have to import the fecking yokes from wherever it is they're conceived, tested for safety and fitted with their annoying little coin mechanism.

But the BUY LOCAL & SAVE OUR JOBS! slogan which is so easy to shout at Tesco, is also being shouted at Tesco in Hungary by the far right

I know coz I just read it on a BBC News feature & you can too by clicking on this link -
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/markurban/2009/06/....html

& so I think the approach evinced by Paul Conroy many times on these pages which brings focus on the influence Tesco (& the others at work in Europe & North America naturally as they all employ the same tactics) on education and the inculcation of values and reification of capitalism in our children and other students is the way to go along with of course examination of their worker issues and pay rates. Though in fairness the largest three never have been found or alledged to have stooped to the depths of LIDL described as using STASI techniques on their staff (c/f http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86890?condense_comments...=true ) but we do know the top three Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour flaunt planning regulations and sit at the table of urbanism, they probably deserve their own line of code in any future SIM city style computer games. If they don't have one already.

author by workerpublication date Wed Jun 03, 2009 15:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A boycott of Tesco would be a very bad idea. Tesco employs 12,000 workers in Ireland members of the trade unions Mandate and SIPTU, do you want to see these people lose their jobs and end up unemployed!

In the real world most of us shop in multinational supermarkets and that is not going to change in the near future. The best way to deal with this issue is for strong trade union action to force these companies to pay decent wages.

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