The Socialist

The Socialist 4 October 2007

Support postal workers: decisive action can win

Support postal workers: decisive action can win

"We've had the battle - now this is war!"

Protests make bosses ditch closure plan


Iraq: end the occupation nightmare

Stop the War Coalition (STWC) national demonstration


Tory party fears an autumn election

Banking turmoil continues

Corporate Labour


Come to the NHS demo!

Swansea meeting


Classroom assistants on strike

Supermarket price-fixing scandal

Success! Double whammy for nursery campaign


EU's anti-working class 'reforms'

Fighting nuclear power


Students want to fight back


Che Guevara - revolutionary fighter


Socialism 2007: Ideas for our future

Socialism 2007.net


Burma: Dictatorship under threat


QPR buy-out - Reclaim the game!

It's a free world, a film by Ken Loach

Anno 1701 - Dawn of Discovery


Local government pay offer: It's time for action

Remploy workers win partial victory

Care workers on strike

National Shop Stewards Network makes plans

 
 

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Supermarket price-fixing scandal

"WE REQUIRE you to work Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year. Other companies are doing it and we have to compete with them". "We need to extend our opening hours and your working hours to keep up with our competitors."

"We require your work patterns to be more 'flexible' because of the competitive business environment we operate in." "We regret to inform you that the final-salary pension scheme will no longer operate, to maintain our competitive advantage."

Or so myself and my fellow workers are told everyday by the supermarket we work for. But it seems 'competition' may not be the unstoppable force our bosses make it out to be. The big four supermarkets Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons and the big dairies supplying them have all been caught fixing the price of basic dairy goods like milk and cheese between them.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) estimates that consumers have been ripped off to the tune of 270 million. So, rather than being at the mercy of competitive pressures, the 'big four' seem quite capable of co-operating to protect their profits.

This just shows the supermarket industry bosses' hypocrisy and greed. The bosses trumpet 'competition', using it as an excuse when attacking their workers. But the same bosses flout 'competition' to make a few extra million by price fixing. In either case it is clear that what is operating is not some mystical 'competitive force' but the naked greed of big business. 'Competition' is just the latest word in their vocabulary of excuses.

All this shows the hollowness of 'competition' when monopoly capitalism dominates. The OFT cries foul at these 'uncompetitive practices', but what sort of genuine competition exists when the entire food (and distribution) market is dominated by a few big players, who use their economic muscle to dictate what goes on in the economy and all our lives? Not that much as this price-fixing scam proves!

Why can't the supermarket bosses compete to provide their workers with the best pay and the best pension schemes instead of the worst? Why can't they collude to offer consumers lower prices? That would require taking them out of the greedy hands of big business and nationalising them under democratic workers' control and management.

Sean Figg, Brighton Socialist Party
  • Meeting for Socialist Party members in shop workers' union USDAW, 2pm Saturday 6 October. Ring Alex on 078154 17112 for details.

  • In this issue

    Support postal workers: decisive action can win

    "We've had the battle - now this is war!"

    Protests make bosses ditch closure plan


    War and terrorism

    Iraq: end the occupation nightmare

    Stop the War Coalition (STWC) national demonstration


    Editorial and comment

    Tory party fears an autumn election

    Banking turmoil continues

    Corporate Labour


    Socialist Party NHS campaign

    Come to the NHS demo!

    Swansea meeting


    Socialist Party news and analysis

    Classroom assistants on strike

    Supermarket price-fixing scandal

    Success! Double whammy for nursery campaign


    Socialist Party features

    EU's anti-working class 'reforms'

    Fighting nuclear power


    Socialist Students

    Students want to fight back


    Socialist Party feature

    Che Guevara - revolutionary fighter


    Socialist Party events

    Socialism 2007: Ideas for our future

    Socialism 2007.net


    International socialist news and analysis

    Burma: Dictatorship under threat


    Socialist Party reviews and comment

    QPR buy-out - Reclaim the game!

    It's a free world, a film by Ken Loach

    Anno 1701 - Dawn of Discovery


    Socialist Party workplace news

    Local government pay offer: It's time for action

    Remploy workers win partial victory

    Care workers on strike

    National Shop Stewards Network makes plans


     

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