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Irish suppliers bullied by Tesco

Irish TimesIt’s notoriously difficult for producers to get their product onto the supermarket shelves, and it isn’t easy to keep it there. Many supermarkets demand that suppliers pay them for the privilege of being stocked, effectively freezing out smaller producers.

In today’s Irish Times, consumer affairs correspondent Paul Cullen reports that Tesco has been demanding sums of up to €500,000 from individual suppliers in order to have a presence in its 119 Irish stores.

tescoirelandSuppliers, none of whom were willing to go on the record for fear of retaliation from Tesco, said they were being “bullied” by the UK giant. Cullen points out that demands for so-called “pay to play” money are not illegal, but push up prices for consumers.

Besides driving companies out of business – and driving up the cost of your grocery bill – Tesco’s actions are contributing to what economist Jim Power of the Love Irish Food campaign calls the “Tescoisation” of society. If small businesses are frozen out, we’ll all end up with less choice and with everything we eat controlled by big supermarkets and big food manufacturers. It’s a sinister thought and further reason to resist Tesco’s bully-boy practices.


  1. The bullying extends to the suppliers themselves. Green Isle Foods, makers of Goodfellas Pizza and Tesco own brand pizza, have been found guilty of unfairly dismissing three employees last year by the Irish Labour Court.

    There is now a call for a boycott of Green Isle products and the strikers are beginning a hunger strike having been on strike since August 2009. Green Isle Foods are no better than Tesco in this respect.


  2. What was the reason for the unfair dismissal?

  3. On 18th December 2008, Green Isle Foods management leaked a folder containing details of their plans to lay off engineering staff. The folder was placed as an icon directly onto an employees desktop by the companies IS Dept.

    The only way an employee knows whether they have permission to open particular folders, is by attempting to open them. In March 2009, information regarding engineering layoffs appeared in this folder. The person in question showed it to a manager of the company who reported this to higher management.

  4. Isnt there also an issue of inappropriate emails?

  5. Hi Claire.

    Good question and the answer to your question is an emphatic ‘No’. And in fact the Irish Labour Court recognised this when making their judgement.

    The company tried to tarnish the reputation of the men using that story to detract from the real issue, which was shown to have been a failing of the company’s IS security systems. The Labour Court with all the information of the case before them, realised this.

    Now that they have been found out by the Irish legal system, public support for the boycott is stronger than ever. The Irish Labour Court recommended that the victimised employees be returned to their positions.

    Until this happens, customers should consider the behaviour of Green Isle Foods, makers of Goodfellas Pizza, when shopping.

  6. God bless them.
    I always had a couple of the goodfellas pizzas for during the week but you if a company cant treat it’s own workers fairly it can hardly be looking after it’s customers to.

    Chicago town are nicer Ive found anyway.

  7. Fair enough. I found the report on google and had a read of it. I dont buy those pizzas or shop in Tesco so Im no good to you either way. 😀

  8. How can this be legal??? (I mean the original Tesco “pay to play” post)