Tesco Midleton Members

To:      All Mandate Members, Tesco Midleton

Re:      Store Response to Covid-19 related Absence

18th January 2022

Dear Member

Below find copy of correspondence sent to Company today regarding above matter for your information.

Yours sincerely
for Mandate Trade Union

Lorraine O’ Brien
Divisional Organiser


18th January 2022

Mr. Declan O’Driscoll
Store Manager
Co. Cork

By email and post:

Re: Store Response to Covid-19 related Absence

Dear Mr. O’ Driscoll

I have been contacted by numerous members who are extremely distressed as a result of calls they have received from the store in relation to their absence due to Covid-19. I am advised management are telling staff who are required to self-isolate/restrict their movements or who are a close contact to return to work before the required time frames contrary to HSE guidelines.

Furthermore, I understand the store are refusing to accept the timelines contained in medical certificates and are demanding that staff return to work before the medical certificates expire. Moreover, I am advised the store are questioning the validity of the medical certificates submitted and are telling staff that the HSE advice they are receiving in respect of their situation is wrong.

As you should be aware, all employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety, health and welfare of their employees under the associated legislation.  In addition, Tesco have an obligation to ensure insofar as is reasonably practicable, that in the course of their work staff at their place of work are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.  Any deviation from these legal obligations and the public health guidelines as determined by the HSE/Government, is a huge cause for concern, not just for our members but also for the general public shopping in the store.

Given the significant number of staff absent from work due to Covid-19 over the past number of weeks in the store, it is concerning that management are placing staff under significant pressure to ignore public health guidelines and potentially place themselves and their colleagues at risk. This type of behaviour demonstrates little concern for the overall health and wellbeing of staff and the public.

I am to advise that the instructions issued to our members during the course of the aforementioned telephone conversations are unwelcome, unwarranted and completely at odds with current HSE guidelines. Our members are very cognisant of their obligations to adhere to both their medical practitioners’ advice and that of the HSE and therefore will not be ignoring said advice to the detriment of themselves and their colleagues.

While the store may be experiencing staffing challenges as a result of the current outbreak, it is not appropriate or right to shift that burden onto those who are directly affected by the virus. The responsibility for staffing rests with the company and therefore please seek support from other quarters rather than adding further to the distress of our members who through no fault of their own are absent from work.

I trust you will note the above and take the necessary steps to ensure the above outlined is immediately rectified.

Yours sincerely
For Mandate Trade Union

Lorraine O’ Brien
Divisional Organiser

cc.  Mr. Conor Lynch, Area Manager
      All Members

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