Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1103/31406

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 September 2020

Usdaw elections: Defend members' right to participate

photo Richard Groves

photo Richard Groves   (Click to enlarge)

Iain Dalton, Usdaw Broad Left Chair

During the Covid-19 pandemic, members of Usdaw, the shop and distribution workers' union, have been hit hard. The non-food retail sector was particularly affected by the recession that was developing prior to Covid and which has now been accelerated by it.

125,000 jobs have been lost in the retail sector in 2020, with 13,867 shops permanently closing. The crisis in retail, with knock-on consequences in distribution and manufacturing where Usdaw also organises, is a factor in the significant drops which have taken place in the number of union members and of union reps.

The pandemic has also contributed towards completely disorganising the union. Union offices have been shut, officials have been working from home, and many reps feel that they have been left to fend for themselves.

Substantial numbers of Usdaw branches have not been meeting at all during the pandemic - despite the availability of Zoom. During lockdown, no guidance has been produced from General Secretary Paddy Lillis to assist branch secretaries to effectively resume branch meetings.

This was the backdrop to the scheduled elections for president, executive council and divisional councils in Usdaw. And yet Lillis still pushed for the elections to go ahead, regardless.

This was opposed by the Usdaw Broad Left. We want to elect a fighting union leadership that will stand up to the bosses in the industry and the government, and that will mobilise members to defend workers' safety, jobs and conditions. But to proceed with elections as things stand would lead to a democratic deficit with only part of the union being able to take part fully in the nomination process.

We therefore support the decision by Usdaw's executive council to overturn the recommendations of Paddy Lillis and postpone the elections by a year.

Concerns have been raised that with elections suspended, Usdaw's Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM) will not be able to go ahead. However, the timetable for ADM would not usually be set at this time, and the only elections which would affect it, those for the standing orders committee which oversees ADM, while usually held alongside the others, are not subject to the same rules as the delayed elections.

Given the changed situation in retail over the last year, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, plans should be put in place by the executive committee for the ADM to go ahead in as 'normal' a fashion as possible, ideally in person as usual, including holding it slightly later in the year if this facilitates it.

Under Lillis' watch, even executive council members of the union are being victimised by companies - such is the case with executive council member for Scotland and Glasgow Ikea rep Richie Venton (see below), who Lillis has so far failed to even publicly support. So what hope is there for other reps feeling confident the union's officials have their back?

Fully restarting the union's democratic structures is not just an organisational task, but also a political one. This starts with putting forward a strategy for reps and activists to defend the interests of Usdaw members, whether in retail, distribution or any other sector the union organises in, and throwing the full weight of the union behind any member that companies attempt to victimise for doing just that.


Flat-pack thugs

Protesting at Ikea Tottenham 24 September in support of Richie Venton

Protesting at Ikea Tottenham 24 September in support of Richie Venton   (Click to enlarge)

Security at Ikea manhandled and shoved peaceful protesters, including Socialist Party members and the Blacklist Support Group, out of Ikea's Tottenham store on 24 September. They were demanding the reinstatement of sacked Usdaw shop steward Richie Venton.

Richie was sacked by Ikea for fighting against plans to cut sick pay in the Glasgow store during the pandemic.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 30 September 2020:


News

Tory scheme won't halt mass unemployment: mobilise the unions!

Job Support Scheme - too little, too late

Under the microscope

News in brief


International news

Trump's failure over western US wildfires

US: Police escape justice over Breonna Taylor killing

South Africa: Working class unity to stop violence against women


What we think

Covid restrictions expose Tory splits


Students

Students trapped on Covid campuses speak out

Apprehension about Covid - anger at fees, costs and exploitation


Black History Month

Still crawling at 60: Capitalism has failed Nigeria


Workplace news

Trade unions must fight to put their stamp on events

Usdaw elections: Defend members' right to participate

PCS: No to DWP management's plans - Yes to action

NHS workers need 15% rise and full funding

Fight BT redundancies

Peterborough CWU have massively voted for strike action


Campaigns and party news

Why I joined the Socialist Party: Labour moved right and left me behind

71,522 raised: We've smashed our target again

Selling the Socialist

Newham: Closed and evicted

Campaign for new King George Hospital wing gets boost

Solidarity not charity


Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 30 September 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Usdaw:

triangleUsdaw elections: the battle for a fighting union

triangleReinstate Richie Venton

triangleReinstate Richie Venton

triangleSupport Ikea workers - reinstate Richie Venton

triangleDebenhams: Fighting closures and redundancies

Elections:

triangleTUSC to stand in elections again against pro-austerity politicians

triangleTime to relaunch TUSC

trianglePCS executive majority cancels union democracy

triangleUCU: election victory for combative rank and file

Union:

triangleWhy the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

triangleSolidarity with Deliveroo Couriers in York

triangleFCC dismiss Unison activist Tony Smith

Retail:

triangleContinue the fight to protect safety

triangleMandatory masks in shops law

Glasgow:

triangleScotland and coronavirus - a catalogue of government failure

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

21/10/20

NHS

Teignmouth hospital closure threat ... again!

21/10/20

Spanish revolution

Books that inspired me: For Whom the Bell Tolls

21/10/20

Young people

Fight for your future at the online rally

21/10/20

Disabled

Disabled students let down by "rotten education system"

21/10/20

NHS

NHS workers

21/10/20

Leicester

Leicester lockdown: disillusionment and anger

21/10/20

Newcastle

Newcastle lockdown: stress and breakdowns

21/10/20

Unite

Optare workers strike over pay broken 'promise'

21/10/20

The Socialist

Selling the Socialist: increase in NHS anger

21/10/20

Hugo Pierre

Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

21/10/20

Racist

Southampton: Coxford community condemns racist attack

21/10/20

Refugees

Kent: Chaotic privatised asylum process

21/10/20

Flooding

Truth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack

21/10/20

Students

Students: Give us our money back

21/10/20

Finance

Socialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?

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: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999