Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1040/29047

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 May 2019

Usdaw conference 2019

Tesco: profits for bosses, job cuts for workers - Usdaw union must fight back!

Usdaw members on the TUC march, 12.5.18, photo David Owens

Usdaw members on the TUC march, 12.5.18, photo David Owens   (Click to enlarge)

Scott Jones, chair, Usdaw East London Retail Branch C026 (personal capacity)

As delegates arrive in Blackpool for the annual conference of Usdaw, the retail and distribution union, many shop workers are facing job losses and worse pay and conditions as the retail crisis deepens.

At the same time, some bosses are celebrating. In April, Tesco announced a 30% rise in profits to 1.7 billion, with chief executive Dave Lewis saying: "After four years we have met our turnaround goals. I'm very confident that we will complete the journey in 2019-20."

But up to 9,000 Tesco workers won't be around to complete "the journey." Despite the huge profits Tesco announced in January, up to 9,000 jobs could go, as bosses axe many in-store counters and hot food provision in staff canteens.

They would join thousands of other retail workers who have lost their jobs in recent years - the latest being Debenhams workers, after bosses announced the closure of 22 stores, affecting 1,200 jobs.

Shamefully, Tesco workers first heard about the changes in the press. After months of uncertainty, management is now calling those affected into redundancy meetings.

Tesco has talked of 'redeploying' some workers. But with 10,000 jobs already lost through not replacing staff who have left, the retailer can't be trusted.

Angry

Usdaw president Amy Murphy, a Tesco worker and member of the Socialist Party, has said: "Staff are angry, shocked and devastated. Particularly by the appalling decision to hold celebratory buffets in stores to celebrate the profits on the same day colleagues were told they were at risk of redundancy.

"Retail is under pressure, but Tesco still makes over a billion in profit, and staff played the crucial role in ensuring a good Christmas for Tesco and the rise in profits. We should fight every job loss and cut."

The bumper profit announcement shows not a single job should be lost, no counters should be scrapped, and no changes should be made to staff canteens. Even though some workers are currently going through the redundancy process, workers' anger demonstrates it's still not too late for Usdaw to fight - to prevent every job loss now, and to build a fightback to defeat future attacks.

Last year saw strikes by McDonald's, TGI Fridays and JD Wetherspoon workers, as well as by Tesco workers in Dagenham and in Ireland. This shows the potential for similarly low-paid supermarket staff across Britain to take action.

Tesco workers could also link up with customers who will be angry at losing in-store services. As well as urgent in-store union meetings, Usdaw should call public meetings to win support for the fight against these cuts.

Strategy

This year, Usdaw launched its 'Industrial Strategy for Retail'. This includes welcome measures: a 10-an-hour minimum wage, minimum 16-hour contracts, and the right to a contract reflecting regular hours worked.

Also, reducing the gap between chief executive pay and ordinary workers, and measures to stop corporate tax avoidance.

But it falls short of asking the central question behind the retail crisis: under whose control is the retail industry to be developed, and in whose interests?

Usdaw's 2017 conference resolved that failing retail companies should not to be allowed to sack workers and close stores, but be nationalised instead. Usdaw should make this a cornerstone of its industrial strategy for retail, including for profitable companies like Tesco.

Ultimately, only on the basis of public ownership and democratic workers' control can jobs be protected from the pressures of the market. Instead of the bosses running our high streets and supermarkets into the ground, we call for democratically elected committees of shop workers and the local working class to run retail.


Save our jobs! Fight for better pay! Build the 'campaigning union'!

Ryan Aldred Secretary, Usdaw Plymouth and District General Branch (personal capacity)

In the last year, we have seen another increase in the list of shops facing or entering administration. Familiar high-street names have closed their doors, with thousands of workers left with only the promise of poverty and debt from the broken Universal Credit system.

Likewise, we continue to see creeping casualisation in the retail sector, with zero and low-hour contracts on the rise.

But it doesn't have to be this way! Usdaw prides itself on being "the campaigning union," and a serious undertaking to build the 'Time for Better Pay' and 'Save Our Shops' campaigns is needed.

We need to see the union mobilise the full strength of its 430,000 members - organising campaign stalls, building demonstrations, and preparing for strikes if necessary.

Contracts

Fighting like this for employers and the government to establish a 10-an-hour minimum wage - and scrap zero and low-hour contracts, unless specifically requested by workers and subject to trade union conditions - would start to undo the insecurity and poverty increasingly offered by retail bosses.

We need to place demands on 'struggling' employers to open their books for the scrutiny of trade unions and the workforce - a proposition put forward by Socialist Party members calling for this is on the conference agenda.

If companies can afford overinflated salaries for bosses and dividends for shareholders, they can afford to raise workers' wages. If companies do face administration, we call for their nationalisation.

By demonstrating the strength of the union to combat the bosses and their Tory government, we can expand our membership and truly earn our spurs as a union that campaigns for a better future for workers.

This government is on its knees. With the strength of half a million shop workers, especially if reaching out to other unions for combined action, we could see the poverty conditions created by Tory and Blairite politicians consigned to the dustbin of history.


The Socialist Party says

Come to the Usdaw Activist (Socialist Party members in Usdaw) conference fringe meeting at the Almeria Hotel, 61 Hornby Road, Blackpool FY1 4QJ at 6pm, Sunday 5 May - speakers include union president Amy Murphy

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 1 May 2019:


News

Build student unions and walkouts to fight climate change and Trump!

300 NHS nurse suicides in seven years - fully fund our health service now!

Port Talbot steelworks rocked by an explosion - nationalise the plant to save jobs and lives!

Build a universal safety net - abolish Universal Credit!

Universal Credit disaster behind foodbank rise

Fracking mess


Local elections 2019

Local elections 2019: Time to stand up and fight the cuts!

Wirral Tories raise spectre of Militant

Leicester: No-cuts budget only way forward

Worcester: Fightback against library cuts

Union action needed to fight Tory Derbyshire Council cuts


Workplace news

Valentine victory: School strike beats council cuts

Strike ballot: huge result must launch fightback

Usdaw ADM 2019

Communication workers oppose second EU vote, and back new socialist 'Clause IV' for Labour


International socialist news and analysis

India General election shows crying need for independent socialist alternative

France Telecom: Privatisation in the dock

Scandinavian Airlines walkout disrupts Nordic air travel


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

EU elections: Countering Farage's right-wing Brexit Party

Swansea anti-far right protest

Waltham Forest TUC May Day


Opinion

Knife crime - a product of capitalist misery

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 1 May 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Usdaw:

triangleTrade union action can end low pay

triangleMorrisons workers reject pay offer

triangleUnited on need for fightback - now keep pressure on for action

triangleUsdaw union conference demands action on pay, jobs and the right

triangleInterview with a shop worker

Workers:

triangleManchester: RMT transport workers' conference fringe meeting

triangleHarrogate academy workers strike against closure

triangleSwansea Parcelforce workers picket depot in support of victimised rep

triangleEast London bin workers call 12-day strike over wage grades

Union:

triangleUnite must be at the head of fighting for a general election and against council cuts

triangleAngry residents' meeting demands answers and action following fire

triangleWidespread condemnation of horrifying, violent, homophobic assaults

Tesco:

triangleChanges threaten thousands of jobs

triangleBroad Left candidate elected as Usdaw deputy general secretary

Cuts:

triangleSchools unions must turn anger into a fight against funding catastrophe

Retail:

triangleSupermarket giants merger: protect jobs and fight price hikes

Minimum wage:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: We need a 15 an hour minimum wage in London

Trade union:

triangleSocialist Party members make big impact at trades council conference

Wages:

triangleLaughable research denies low-pay scandal

Trade unions:

triangleStrike together to kick out the Tories!

Supermarket:

triangleSolid strike at Tesco Dagenham distribution centre forces pay talks

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/6/19

South Western Railway

South Western Railway staff strike for safety

19/6/19

Barking

Angry residents' meeting demands answers and action following fire

19/6/19

Ford

Ford Bridgend workers vote to fight to save threatened plant

19/6/19

Southampton

Bluestar bus drivers' strike over pay

19/6/19

Newham

East London bin workers call 12-day strike over wage grades

19/6/19

Swansea

Swansea Parcelforce workers picket depot in support of victimised rep

19/6/19

Harrogate

Harrogate academy workers strike against closure

19/6/19

Orgreave

Orgreave injustice - 35th anniversary march and rally

19/6/19

Newham

Oppose big business's sphere of influence!

19/6/19

Rhondda

Young Socialists - re-establishing Rhondda's fighting traditions

19/6/19

North Shields

North Shields: second march and rally to #SaveOurBridge

19/6/19

NHS

Newton Abbot says no to Tory privatisation of the NHS!

19/6/19

Worcester

Worcester: Building on our successful library campaign

19/6/19

Low pay

Trade union action can end low pay

19/6/19

Climate change

What way forward to tackle climate change?

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999