Tesco has been stopped from unilaterally withdrawing entitlements to retained pay for workers at its Livingston distribution centre following a ruling in the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

The judgement, which applies only to the Livingston site, means the supermarket giant also cannot terminate a contract in order to re-engage a worker on new terms which do not include retained pay.

Union Usdaw, which won the interdict, described Tesco’s proposal as “fire and rehire” and added that it affected workers in Litchfield, Daventry and Avonmouth.

However, a Tesco spokesman said the supplement affected only a small number of staff and it had made a fair offer to affected colleagues.

Usdaw national officer Joanne McGuinness said: “We are very pleased to have secured this victory for our members who faced a huge cut in wages after Tesco moved to renege on a longstanding collective agreement made in good faith.

“It is a major victory in the fight against ‘fire and rehire’ tactics, which are now being used by too many businesses.

“The court delivered a temporary prohibition and we are now calling on the company to honour the judgment and withdraw its plans at all sites.”

Another trade union, Unite, said fire and rehire was becoming a “creeping culture” across retail and distribution and that it would not stand by and watch employers attack workers’ terms and conditions.

Adrian Jones, Unite national officer, said: “Fire and rehire is an abomination and the ability of employers to sack workers so they can remove established terms and conditions should be erased from the statute book.

“That is why our shop stewards representing our members in retail, distribution and logistics have pledged to support any workers who are facing this sustained attack on their living standards.”

A Tesco spokesman told motortransport.co.uk: “A very small number of colleagues in our distribution network receive a supplement to their pay which was offered a number of years ago as an incentive to retain colleagues.

“Today, we have over 16,000 colleagues working in distribution, of which the vast majority do not receive this top up, so we have taken the decision to phase it out.

“We made a fair offer to those colleagues affected, and many of our colleagues have chosen to accept this.”