Usdaw ‘disappointed’ as Tesco appeals high court ruling

Trade Union Usdaw and leading law firm Thompsons Solicitors have expressed disappointment at Tesco’s decision to challenge a ‘fire and rehire’ ruling at the Court of Appeal.

The Big 4 grocer’s appeal refers to the landmark legal victory in February against Tesco over its decision to “dismiss a number of its staff and seek to re-engage them on inferior terms and conditions.”

Initially, Usdaw brought the case on behalf on 42 workers employed by Tesco in its Daventry and Litchfield distribution centres – where workers had a wage decrease as a consequence of their employer’s move.

READ MORE: Usdaw says it is ‘staggering’ that government refuses to tackle cost of living crisis

According to February’s High Court ruling, the supermarket is not permitted to use fire and rehire tactics against workers – with a permanent injunction granted.

The court held that the 42 workers had been entitled a specific payment called “retained pay” to keep them in the business, which Tesco removed by firing them and then rehiring them on a contract without the retained pay.

As a result, the judge ruled that the implied term in the “contracts that the right to terminate their employment could not be exercised if the aim was to remove the right to ‘retained pay’”.

However Tesco has decided to take the case to the Court of Appeal, a decision that Usdaw has expressed disappointment over.

“The High Court ruling in February was a well-reasoned and unequivocally clear judgement,” Thompsons Solicitors trade unionist specialist Neil Todd said.

“There is no justification for the company to pursue cost-cutting measures to the detriment of its staff.  We will continue to fight alongside the trade union movement against employers that think they can get away with these kinds of cynical employment tactics.”

Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuiness added: “We are disappointed that Tesco has decided to appeal the victory we secured for our members’ and hope the court of appeal will also back the right to retained pay and reject enforced contractual changes through the use of fire and rehire.”

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