Duzo Ciezko Tesco - Every little hurts

IssueSeptember 2005
News by Ewa Jasiewicz

There were solidarity pickets outside Tesco stores up and down Britain on 4 August after two Polish agency workers were sacked. Zbyszek Bukala and Radek Sawicki were both dismissed from Greenhills Distribution Centre in Dublin by their respective employment agencies - they say at the behest of Tesco - after refusing to load boxes based on excessive quotas.

In a joint day of action, pickets took place in Dublin, Liverpool, Glasgow, Leeds, Nottingham, Oxford and London. The aim was to publicise the demands of the Tesco Temps Defence Committee (TTDC) which was born in late July and catalysed wildcat stoppages by both Irish and Polish workers in support of Bukala and Sawicki when they were effectively sacked. The TTDC was demanding that the packing rate should be no more than 800 boxes per day as a matter of health and safety; all workers who have been working for Tesco for more than 3 months should be given permanent direct contracts; and Zbyszek and Radek should be reinstated.

In Liverpool a group of former agency workers from Poland staged a picket outside a Tesco store. In Oxford several workers defied their boss to come and talk to picketers. Approximately 20 workers, solidarity activists under the banner of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) picketed Argyle Street Tesco in Glasgow. In London, 20 people turned up outside Hackney Tesco with banners, and hundreds of leaflets and were received warmly by staff and shoppers. In Leeds, Tesco staff waved their support from the store and when Tesco called the police they took a leaflet and left the picketers to get on with it.

On 12 August there were further pickets in Poland and many more are expected all over Europe as pressure on the supermarket giant escalates.

Topics: Labour movement