The ongoing strike at a number of Tesco stores has been suspended from this morning after both sides in the dispute agreed to attend discussions at the invitation of the Labour Court.

Tesco has confirmed that it will not make any changes to pre-1996 terms and conditions whilst this process is ongoing.

The Mandate trade union said all pickets will be suspended and the talks are expected to get under way this weekend.

In a statement last night, Mandate said that the parties agreed: "That Mandate Trade Union suspend its picketing of all Tesco locations as and from tonight and that pickets due to be placed on 3 March 2017 are also suspended for the duration of the process."

Earlier, the Department of Social Protection denied that Tesco workers would have Family Income Supplement suspended or terminated because they were on strike.

The department acknowledged that an incorrect reference that gave the impression that FIS could be declined in the event of industrial action had been posted on the website.

However, the department said that the post had been removed as it was factually incorrect.

It said there was no provision in social welfare legislation which provides for the suspension or termination of FIS in the event that the recipient is involved in industrial action. 

It went on to confirm that the department has not suspended or terminated FIS in respect of any Tesco worker, specifically on the grounds that they were involved in the ongoing industrial dispute.

The department apologised for any upset or confusion caused by the incorrect reference.

The dispute is over plans by Tesco to move around 250 pre-1996 staff recruits to less favourable contracts.