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Leadership challenged at Usdaw conference
Socialist Party members in Usdaw
Usdaw's 2014 Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) opened to a backdrop of announcements of job losses and cuts in Tesco. Members' anger at finding this out through social media and the union's complacency peppered their speeches.
As ever, many of the propositions challenging the Usdaw leadership's position never made it to ADM floor. This didn't stop criticism of the union's leadership - delegates made points on the union's annual report, usually a more mundane part of ADM.
Iain Dalton criticised the union leadership. They'd attended an international trade union conference in Argentina and the only official mention of the visit so far was a sentence in the report. If we're sending delegates around the world to discuss with our fellow workers, this should be reported so we can learn from their struggles. He highlighted the inspiring struggles in the US to organise Walmart workers as well as fighting for a $15 an hour minimum wage.
This, and other interventions, led to a growing interest in the Socialist Party and its bulletin in the union, the Activist. Over 100 copies of the Socialist were sold, more than one for every eight attendees. Delegates also bought 50 copies of the new Activist pamphlet.
A key debate took place around zero-hour contracts. Unfortunately the composite that was passed mentioned every constraint except abolishing them.
Motions were also passed to campaign to abolish tuition fees and work closer with student unions and the NUS. Renationalising public transport was also supported. A motion congratulating Miliband on his energy price freeze was amended to say that the best means of controlling energy prices was: "to renationalise the energy companies with democratic control including workers in industry and consumers over prices".
In the union's upcoming elections Socialist Party members will be building support for the candidates endorsed by the Broad Left meeting at ADM. These include Socialist Party members Scott Jones, who is standing for the Executive Committee (EC) in the South Wales and Western division and Amy Murphy who is standing for re-election to the EC in the Southern division and for President of the union.
In The Socialist 14 May 2014:
Vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns