Tesco condemned by Livingston MP over plan to cut pay of up to 290 workers
Tesco has been condemned by Livingston SNP MP Hannah Bardell over plans to cut the pay of workers at its distribution centre in the town despite soaring profits.
The retail giant is facing the threat of strike action which would disrupt supplies to supermarkets unless it drops the move to reduce the pay of up to 290 employees by between £4,000 and £13,000 a year.
Ms Bardell met Tesco bosses along with West Lothian SNP MSPs Fiona Hyslop and Angela Constance and urged the company to think again about its intention to end the “retained” bonus by firing and rehiring the workers.
She said: “I condemn the company’s action. We have asked them to pause and reconsider because they are breaking a contract.
“These were promises that were made to staff about their pay when they moved from the old distribution centre to the new one.
"This comes down to a matter of fairness and honesty and trust. People signed contracts and they have paperwork guaranteeing this pay will continue and they have mortgages on the basis of that. This company wants to take that money away, potentially forcing them to sell their houses.”
Tesco’s profits soared by 29 per cent in the first half of last year.
The company has said it plans to phase out the pay top-up because the vast majority of it 16,000 distribution workforce across the UK do not receive it.
But Ms Bardell said she had challenged them to “level up” rather than “level down”.
“I find it worrying that as Tesco has grown, not just in size but in profitability, they claim they need to pay people less.
“I put it to them directly: ‘Why don’t you lift everyone’s pay so it’s in line?’ For a company of Tesco’s size and profitability it’s not unreasonable to consider that they equalise up the way.”
Lothian Labour MSP Neil Findlay and Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs have also criticised the company over its plans.
Ms Bardell said: “There is cross-party agreement this is completely unfair and unjust. We are in the middle of a global pandemic, these staff are essential key workers. But Tesco are one of the winners out of this. Their profits are increasing, yet they are treating their staff in this way. It is utterly sickening.”