THE supermarket chain Tesco has been criticised for pulling out of a meeting with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to discuss their role in the community and next month’s planned reduction in opening hours.
Tesco NI had previously contacted the council in August to seek an informal meeting and make a presentation to members and senior executives.
In September, Tesco announced that it was ending 24-hour opening at four of its stores in the North including Enniskillen as part of changes to its operations. From 7th November, the store will only trade from 6am to 12 midnight. The move will affect around 35 staff employed at the Enniskillen store.
The council had proposed a date for the meeting with members of the Tesco NI Committee to discuss the ending of 24 hour shopping, short hours contracts and the company’s support for local food producers.
At their monthly meeting in Enniskillen this week, councillors expressed disappointment after receiving correspondence from Tesco cancelling the proposed meeting “due to unforeseen circumstances”.
Pointing out that it was Tesco who had requested the meeting, Independent Councillor Bernice Swift said she was extremely dissatisfied with the retailer’s response.
“We were very direct in wanting to discuss how Tesco are catering for local producers and the rights and entitlements of their workers. These are real questions that people want answers to. We have put a shot across the bow and put them under pressure to explain to us how they are catering for this area. They have now cancelled this meeting and you can read between the lines,” she said.
As no alternative date had been suggested in their correspondence, councillors have agreed to write to Tesco again suggesting new dates for a meeting.
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